"Like the study of science and art, accounts of historical events can be intrinsically fascinating. But they have a wider significance. I believe that people are better able to chart their life course and make life decisions when they know how others have dealt with pressures and dilemmas---historically, contemporaneously, and in works of art. And only equipped with such understanding can we participate knowledgeably in contemporary discussions (and decisions) about the culpability of various individuals and countries in the Second World War. Only with such understanding can we ponder the responsibilty of human beings everywhere to counter current efforts at genocide in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia to bring the perpetrators to justice."
"...we humans are the kinds of animals who learn chiefly by observing others---what they value, what they spurn, how they conduct themselves from day to day, and especially, what they do when they believe that no one is looking."
----Howard Gardner, from The Disciplined Mind, published in 1999

Sunday, January 4, 2009

You Can't Have That, But You Can Have This; or, Maybe Some Interruption-Transition Trials Are In Order


http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41QRXFG1E2L._SL500_AA280_.jpg

Dear reader, it is my best and most essential wish and hope for you all that you have been living well in this past year, and that the new year brings all of the best that you could hope for. Perhaps even better yet: things that you could never imagine for yourself, all to the best, and then even more.

This past year has been a challenging one for me in my new position---although not-so-new now, as this week, I will celebrate my one year anniversary in this placement.

My biggest challenge has been balance.
It has been difficult for me to leave my work at work. It is common for many people in many professions to do so. It is indeed common for team members who support learners identified as having autism to the degree to which our learners are identified to do so.

Below is a plan written for one of our kiddos. It's not an unusual or unique plan by any means. It is what is commonly referred to as an "interruption transition trial" protocol. An interruption transition trial is indicated for learners who have difficulty moving from one area/activity to another area/activity.
I thought that I would use our dear X's hard work and progress as an inspiration for myself this year: where X's goal is zero occurences of behaviors of concern per week, my goal will be to actively create more balance and smooth transition between my professional and my personal lives.

I've chosen to use this protocol for myself as opposed to an "accepting no" protocol (essential to this learning: you can't have that, but you can have this...please scroll downpage in the above link for a description of this trial) because I do believe that I can have both. I believe that I can be a good educator and a good daugher/friend/mother/wife.
And yes, even a good blogger.

So when reading "X," substitute "neroli." I will.

Goal: When given an adult direction or direction to transition, X will comply with the demand without engaging in behaviors of concern in the for no (0) occurrences of behaviors of concern per week.

Before teaching:
· Team develops a “bank” of transitional demands that will be presented to X.
o Team groups transitions by level of effort as well as level of interest/motivation to X.
§ Remember to consider:
what X would choose to do on his own/are easy for X to do, and group these as the "easies” or the “fun;”
· what X would rarely ever choose to do independently/are hard for X to do, and group these as the “hards” or “no fun.”


· Team develops a “bank” of reinforcers that will be used as a promise reinforcer when presenting the transitional demand to X.
o Team groups reinforcers by level of interest/motivation to X.
§ Remember to consider:
· what X would always choose if given free choice, and group these as highly-valued.
· what X would rarely ever choose if given free choice, and group these as least-valued.

Team develops a systematic list of transitional demands that will be presented to X.
Begin the list with the transitions that are easy/fun for X using a corresponding highly-valued promise reinforcer.
Continue to develop the list by gradually and systematically adding in transitions that are less easy/fun for X
Gradually and systematically changing the promise reinforcers used from more highly-valued reinforcers to lower-valued reinforcers.
When this has been organized, teaching may begin.

Staff: “touch this,”
X: touches
Staff: “Great job touching! You can do (name reinforcing activity). “
X: returns to engaging in reinforcing activity

Gradually and systematically increase the level of transitional demands to those that are less easy/fun (such as “get up and come here” when “here” is a chair 3 feet away.

Getting ready for a teaching session:

Staff puts system into place before teaching session begins.
Remember:
to have all activities and reinforcers that will be used ready and readily available before the first presentation of demands
to have all transitional demands and promise reinforcers that are to be used recorded on the data sheet to be used for the session before the first presentation of demands

Teaching the sessions:

Always remember to show promise reinforcer first; then present demand. Do not talk to X about the promise reinforcer.

Begin the teaching with the transitions that are easy/fun for X using a corresponding highly-valued promise reinforcer.


Staff: Shows X a highly-valued item or offers a highly-valued action, and says “touch this,” or “Do this.”
X: touches, or does
Staff: “Great job touching/doing (name the action)! You can do (name reinforcing activity). “
X: returns to engaging in reinforcing activity

Gradually and systematically change the promise reinforcers used from more highly-valued reinforcers to lower-valued reinforcers.


Staff: Shows X a lesser-valued item or offers a lesser-valued action, and says“Touch this,” or “Do this,”
X: touches, or does
Staff: “Great job touching/doing (name the action)! You can do (name reinforcing activity). “
X: returns to engaging in reinforcing activity

Continue to develop the teaching by gradually and systematically adding in transitions that are less easy/fun for X
Staff: Shows AS promise reinforcer and says in a playful tone,“Hey, X! Do____!”
X: (does the action)
Staff: “Great job touching/doing (name the action)! You can do (name the reinforcing activity)”
X: returns to engaging in reinforcing activity

Increase time that X is required to comply with staff direction before allowed to return to the reinforcing activity: for example, from count of 1 to a count of 10 to the count of 60, and so forth.
Increase distance that X is required to physically move from the reinforcing activity: for example, from standing up from a table where X has been engaging in a reinforcing activity to moving to a chair incrementally further away from the reinforcing activity to all the way across the room from the activity, and so forth.

If X complies immediately with the demand, and does not engage in behaviors of concern, immediately deliver the promise reinforcer.
If X does not comply immediately with the demand, but does not engage in behaviors of concern, provide the least intrusive level of prompting possible to assist him in complying with your demand.


If X complies immediately with this initial prompt, deliver the promise reinforcer.
If X does not comply immediately with initial staff prompts, remove the promise reinforcer. Do not refer to the promise reinforcer in any way.
Keep the demand on,prompting X as necessary with the least intrusive level of prompts possible to assist X to comply with your demand.


Do not deliver verbal praise for this prompted compliance. Do pair poor quality compliance or prompted compliance with language such as “you are doing (name the action demanded), “that’s how you (name the action demanded).”
Differentially reinforce this level of response.
Staff can also then say, “do (name the action demanded)” while also stating the positive behavior expected : for instance, “ stand up quietly.” Staff can then differentially reinforce this level of response.

The least amount of prompting as well as the least amount of time that X requires to comply with demands should be be more highly reinforced than other more highly prompted or less timely responses.

Always let the data inform your programming. Always remember that learning can look like and feel like fun.
I'm running the trials. I'll need all the help that I can get.
I'll talk with you soon.

7 comments:

~sWaMpY~ said...

What a pleasant surprise to find your comment at my place.
I'll come back and read later but just had to pop over and wish you and yours a healthy, happy, and safe 2009.

The Artist formerly Known as Purpleworms (!) said...

I'm glad to see you back at the blog.

Balance is certainly the prime difficulty of life!

Have you written out a plan like this to see that you continue with balance in your life (with the specifics filled in?)

neroli said...

It's good to see you Swampy, Artist.

Your wisdom is always welcome!

As to specific plan, Artist, it's really in the scope and sequence of this trial: baby steps, not too much, not too soon...
measured. methodical.
So far, so good...

captain corky said...

"Always remember that learning can look like and feel like fun."

It's a good thing I finally figured that out. It's great to hear from you. Happy New Year Neroli!

neroli said...

Makes all the difference in the world, doesn't it?!?
Right back at you, dear Captain!

Anita said...

Great to see you in the New Year!
Your work is emotionally exhausting; I hope you can learn to leave it behind when at home.

neroli said...

Thank you, Anita!
I'm hoping so, too---it's become more important to do so than ever in this New Year.