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Hi everyone and thanks for visiting our blog. My wife and I created this blog to chronicle our experience while raising a son with Asperger's syndrome. Since our son was diagnosed with an ASD at age 5, we've had a lot of questions. Lucky for us we have a great support network in place. And our blog gives us an opportunity to share what we've learned with our readers. We hope you find our blog informative and interesting. Thanks again for visiting.


"It seems that for success in science and art, a dash of autism is essential." Dr Hans Asperger 1906-1980



Saturday, 13 April 2013

ABA TRAINING: THE HIDDEN CURRICULUM

This week, my wife and I attended another parent workshop intended to help parents understand more about the world of autism and how it affects those who have it.  This is our 3rd such workshop/seminar that we attended, but this one by far was the best.

The name of this particular workshop was called The Hidden Curriculum, and it taught us about all the additional things that we need to understand in order to help kids with an ASD, during social situations.  As it turns out, there are many social cues that we as regular people pickup without even noticing.  While it's easy for some people to pick up, many people with an ASD do not.

One such example that Jacob really struggles with is recognising visual signs when it comes to understanding other people's emotions, and or feelings.  This is huge for Jacob and we feel that this is where he needs the most work.  One of Jacob's biggest in school issues is regulating his emotions after another person in the school expresses any sign of, what he perceives to be anger.

For an example, Jacob for years has always gotten mad when his teachers attempts to discipline another student.  Should one of Jacob's teachers raise their voice or talk sternly to a student, Jacob will immediately become enraged and begin yelling at the teacher, which is a definite no-no.  And like many people with ASDs, he has a hard time letting go of those negative feelings after the situation is resolved.

This week in school, a fellow student of Jacobs was acting up during an assembly.  Jacob's teacher asked this student to sit near them during the assembly.  Well, this didn't go over well with Jacob.  He stood up in the middle of the gym and began yelling at the teacher about how it's not nice to be angry and mean.  The student who had to be relocated was fine with the seating change immediately, but Jacob was unable to lower his anger level and he was miserable all morning and didn't do any work in class what so ever.

During the workshop, we were taught that there are a few ways to help guide Jacob when he becomes enraged in a situation like this.  When he's at home, it's not as bad because we can work together as a family to help combat negative feelings. But when Jacob is at school, it's much more difficult.  So the best method of attacking this area of concern is to develop a chart to help Jacob understand when it's okay to become upset.

What we're going to use is a chart that helps Jacob self regulate his emotions.  In the chart there will be 5 levels of feelings.  They will flow as follows:

Level 1 will have a happy face with a huge smile, level 2 will have a happy face with a small smile, level 3 with be a face with no smile, level 4 will have an upset face with a frown and level 5 will have an angry face.

The key is to help Jacob map his feelings on the chart so that he learns when it's acceptable to become really angry.  When Jacob was in grade 1, while at school, he got hit in the head by a door and he ended up having a huge cut on his forehead that required a hospital visit.  This situation would certainly warrant a level 5, or angry response.

So when Jacob becomes really upset about something, we have to intercept his feelings and ask him if what he's feeling is worse than when he hit his head.  Of course it's likely not as bad as a gouge in the head, so hopefully he'll see the cues himself and realise that whatever is happening really isn't that bad, which will hopefully make Jacob bring his anger down to a level 4.

In time, as things occur in Jacob's life, he'll be better able to plot things that happen to him on this chart.  And he'll then learn that when a teacher yells at a student, it's not as bad as getting stitches in the face.  It seems like a lot or work, but we have high hopes for this chart.  We hope and pray that it helps Jacob self regulate his feelings, which will hopefully prevent outbursts in class or anywhere.  But if it doesn't work, at least we'll have tried and we then can feel comfortable trying something else.

    

4 comments:

  1. I hope the chart works for Jacob! This chart could help some non ASD people too!

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    1. Me too. We're open to almost anything when it comes to helping Jacob. And you're right that some regular people could use the chart.

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  2. I love your chart! I may have to try that with my Goofy one. Thanks for sharing this :)

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    1. Hey if it works, then go for it.

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