Autism Resource blog:

Parent Support University Week 9

May 27, 2020
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Speaker 1 (00:02):

Hello AnswersNow Facebook friends. We are doing this asynchronously now. So this is going to be part of a Facebook watch party that we're doing. I am Adam Dreyfus. I'm the chief science officer for AnswersNow. AnswersNow is a mobile app. You just need to go to your App store or Google play and download us just type in AnswersNow, all one word they'll come up with a nice little purple icon. You can also go to to learn more about us. We've got blogs, we've got articles, but what we really do is we connect parents and caregivers directly with their own clinicians. We've got a couple of ways of doing this. You can either just do a subscription where you sign up and you get your own BCBA in your pocket for as long as you want.

Speaker 1 (00:45):

Acts very much like a gym membership. Or you can just do a one off, like maybe you've got an upcoming IEP or there's a specific problem behavior that you would like to talk about. We've got one off videos where you can just sign up and talk to a BCBA for 15 minutes, 30 minutes, 45 minutes up to you. What we're doing now on our kind of Wednesday watch parties is we're unpacking all of the strange things that make up ABA. One of the reasons that we started AnswersNow was to reduce the barrier of entry to parents and caregivers, to all of this information. Because really, yes, there's, we're always learning new things about behavior, always learning new things about autism. But what we already know is huge. We know how to help kids talk.

Speaker 1 (01:31):

We know how to help kids change their behaviors around. We know how to help kids develop social skills and academic skills. And about, let's say eight, nine years ago the national professional development center pulled together all of the evidence based practices, the 20 odd things that we know just work every single time. And that really constitutes what's inside of BCBAs head. People always, parents and teachers that we come across. Oh, I wish I knew what you knew. I didn't know. I learned it just the same way people learn how to play the guitar. I did lots of practice and lots of reading. So what we're doing here is we're sort of demystifying some of the, some of the terms we've talked about antecedent based interventions. We've talked about cognitive behavioral interventions. We've talked about discrete trials, we've talked about all kinds of things.

Speaker 1 (02:21):

And today we're gonna be talking about modeling, modeling sounds very straightforward. It sounds like you know, yeah, I get it. I just show them how to do it. Sort of, it's not that simple one of the things that usually challenges people around modeling like, Hey, I just, this kid just doesn't seem to pick it up. Like, I show him how to throw a ball and he doesn't just know how to throw the ball. That's probably because he or she lacks the prerequisite skills, the sort of the connective tissue. So one of those is a, another term that we throw around a little bit is observational learning. And that just means kind of look at somebody and watch them do it and know how to do it. Now, most of us that's how most of us learn most of what we know a good example of that is language.

Speaker 1 (03:09):

You were probably taught directly four or 500 words where somebody literally sucks, sat you down and was like, hat T that's a hat and talk that to you. But once you get above four or 500 words, you begin to acquire them on your own, either through reading or through observation, you're sitting in a group and a duck flies by and someone goes, Oh, look, there's a duck. And you're like, Oh, that must be a duck. And if you're reading a book a little bit later and it says three ducks walked across the road, you're like, Oh, that's the thing that I saw flying through the air. Is it all right? I got it. Making these connections. It's amazing to watch. I've got a, I've got a four and a five year old and they're right in the middle of this, right?

Speaker 1 (03:47):

Like this just massive language acquisition. So modeling, what is it that we want to know about modeling? So first National Professional Development Center has a great website and a series of modules called the affirm of modules that you can take for free. And that's what we're doing. I'm just walking through the modules and just talking about it conceptually a little bit to give you some tips. So I highly recommend that you go check it out. Just, just even to just know the language, the lingo a little bit, it's a little bit frustrating for parents and other related service providers when us BCBAs start just using our, and it's true of everything, it's true of your mechanic. It's true of your doctor. It's true. This specialized language makes the barrier of entry a lot higher.

Speaker 1 (04:37):

So we're trying to reduce that down. So highly recommend that you go check that out and you can either pick and choose or go through them all. It's usually a good idea, especially if you have no sort of background in this to have a BCBA or have somebody help you out kind of guide you almost like a professor, right? Like so, you know, you learn a little something, you got somebody to say, well, what does this mean? How does this apply to my child and that's a great way to use AnswersNow. I was in an IEP meeting, an individual education plan meeting not long ago, and there was a BCBA in there and they were just burying everybody in the jargon. And I think it was important to kind of see the parents started to cry and the meeting stop.

Speaker 1 (05:27):

I said, why, why are you crying? She said, I don't understand what you're saying. And she had an older kid, her kid was, I think, 14. So she'd been in IEP meetings for the better part of 10 years. And for her to have that experience, to have that feeling of I don't even know what words they're using to try to explain my child's behavior so that I can make an informed decision is a failure on our part. And so again, that's one of the reasons that AnswersNow was born to reduce the barrier of entry to this kind of information to parents and caregivers and just translate it. So it's a little bit easier to understand there's a great sort of phrase that we use in behavior analysis called plain English. Can you just put it in plain English when you write a report, when you send somebody sort of a detailed email we're can you, can, can the average person just pick it up and read it and understand like, Oh, I see what's going on.

Speaker 1 (06:22):

This is what's going on with this kid. So modeling it's exactly what it sounds like in the greater scheme of things. Like, I'm gonna, I'm going to show you how to do something. But unfortunately for us many of the kiddos and adults that we work with it's not that they can't see what you're doing and copy it. Almost all of them that I've worked with can learn how to do that to some degree or another. It's just that they see very little value in it. And that's one of the sort of secret keys to this. You want them to be watching you more, if you want modeling to work, you want them to pay attention to you. So how do you get them to pay attention to you? How do you, how do you increase sort of your value?

Speaker 1 (07:13):

And we've talked about this in a couple of different videos, but the easiest way to do this, it's just random acts of kindness. And by that, I mean, every now and then just give them something that they like. So it can be anything, say they like tablet time, right. And you've got a schedule for it, right? You don't want it to get too out of control. You don't want him to leave it on it. Although we are a I think all of us permitting more screen time than we normally do. So say they get their tablet at fixed times at nine in the morning and at noon and at five o'clock in the evening. So a way to make you just have more value is maybe at 11, you just hand him that tablet for like five minutes or 10 minutes and at four or one of their preferred snacks, or one of their preferred drinks just out of nowhere, or just come back, give him a hug.

Speaker 1 (08:04):

They got like a hug. Some kids don't like the way that we hug them. So if they find things that would, most of us would normally find fun and like a cupcake, Oh, I love a cupcake, but if they hate cupcakes, giving them a cupcake is not gonna work. I always use kind of the analogy of watering, right? You try to water the plant. So the plant just grows up and kind of towards you. And so like I use the Skittles, right. Just walk by and give them a skilttle. I don't know where I would try not to do it when they're doing something you don't want them to do. If they're lying on the ground, screaming, for some reason that is not the right time, but if they are largely doing what you want them to do, and what that'll do is, especially if you do it a lot, that will begin to pay more attention to you, right.

Speaker 1 (08:57):

They'll be like, Oh, Hey, here comes here, comes dad. I wonder if something good is going to happen. Usually it comes to take my tablet away or tell me I gotta go take a bath or something like that. But now, Oh, no. Okay. And he's just walking by and that's what you want, right? That's that observational piece, right? You want them looking at you so that when you do sit down and you're like, Hey, this is how you write with a pen. I'm going to model how to do an A, that they have some, some interest in what you're doing. The other one that I would love you to take away from this is you can model your experience through the world. Most of the time that we're working with kids, we're trying to give them language, right.

Speaker 1 (09:37):

Give them more words, give them more social skills, but we don't always model that for them in very clear ways. And one of the ways that we can do that is that I love doing it. It's like, we'll just go for a walk, right. Be walking along got my little buddy who's on the spectrum with me. And I just model what it is, what I'm experiencing as I'm walking along. So by that, I mean, I just narrate, right. I will narrate what's happening in my head. So we'll be walking on a say, okay, we're walking along a little sidewalk here. Oh, here comes a Creek. I wonder if there's any fish in that Creek. And here's some trees coming up ahead and I'm walking with my friend here and he's wearing a red shirt. What you're trying to do is you're quite literally modeling the language that you use in your head to help you navigate the world to tell you that, Hey, is everything okay?

Speaker 1 (10:31):

Is everything scary? Is anything scary? Like, Oh, look, I see a new person coming towards us. They're wearing a red jacket and they have a smile on their face. They must be a very friendly person. I'm gonna wave to them. Oh, look, and they're waving back to me. That was very nice. That's one of the best ways that you can model is, sort of narrate through the social experience that they're having. I hope this makes sense. A model is essentially a prompt like, Hey, this is how I would like you to do it. A response prompt of some kind as we like to say. So I want to check in again, real quick. I'm Adam Dreyfus. I'm the chief science officer of AnswersNow. AnswersNow is a mobile platform that connects parents and caregivers of folks diagnosed with autism directly with their own board certified behavior analyst.

Speaker 1 (11:24):

You can either go to, which is our website and sign up. You can check out our communities, you can check out our blogs, you can check out our tips. But mostly what it is is you can connect it directly to a BCBA. So you don't have to wait six months, 12 months. You can be talking to somebody this afternoon. And yeah. Oh, and it's also a downloadable app. You just go to the Apple store and you type in AnswersNow, no space. And you will be able to download the app for free or to the Android store. So again, we've been talking about best practices here in this is we're calling this parent support university. We're kind of doing a little course each time. Today we're talking about modeling, otherwise known as observational learning, like someone just looking at what you do and learning from it.

Speaker 1 (12:18):

This is how most of us learn how to dance, how to do sports, how to like, that's what practices, right? Like you sit down and practice and the coaches are, here's how you throw a curve ball. And we all watch them. Okay. And then we start practicing and then they are in dance class and they say, Oh, this is a plea. Or this is how to do a spin. And you look at it, you get up and you try it and you fall down a couple of times. It's not, it's never quite perfect. I don't know why we expect folks on the spectrum to pick things up so fast when the rest of us I think just forgot how long it took us to ride a bike and learn how to swim and learn how to not be uncomfortable at a social gathering and learn how to ask questions and answer questions and which fork goes with which fork with which food.

Speaker 1 (13:03):

So modeling takes time. It takes time and it takes repetition. I think the term I like to use with the parents is imagine you're a football coach, right? Football coaches do drills over and over. And football is a pretty straightforward sport. I played it myself. Like when there, when you're inside the middle of a play, it's really clear what you have to do. Right. You've drilled it. And they're like, all right, this is a 49 quick pitch. And that alright, 49 quick pitch. That's I know what that means. That means as soon as they go hike, I stand up and I run to my left, and then I look for someone to run over, right? Like, that's my job. And we do it over and over again, and they don't have to but even if you're watching a football game professional game, these guys are doing it for decades.

Speaker 1 (13:43):

You look on the sidelines, the coach has got the board and he's going over it again. Right. Repetition, repetition, repetition, repetition modeling is absolutely repetition. You're never going to say like, Hey, here's how you do a souffle, peace out. Now, go ahead and do it yourself. So whatever it is, the behavior that you want them to do you're going to have to go over it over and over again, just like a coach. And you want to reward them when they're getting it right. Or getting them kind of close to right. And have a nice little correction when they don't usually you just don't pay any attention and move on. So that's about all of our time for today. Modeling again, one of those mysterious things seems like it's very straight forward. If you're really struggling with modeling, ask your clinician, like maybe he lacks the prerequisite skills. Maybe he can't just look in like, how do we, how do we work on that? Check it out at the National Professional Development center. And their affirm, AFIRM modules, and definitely come check us out at or AnswersNow on your Apple store or Android store. And that is it for our parents support university. I've been Adam Dreyfus with my very wedded down here today. Hope you're having a fantastic day and we will talk to you next week.

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