Speaker 1 (00:02):
Hello AnswersNow, family and friends or people just finding us for the first time and wondering what ia AnswersNow, my name is Adam Dreyfus. I am the co-founder and chief science officer of AnswersNow. And what we're doing here during the pandemic is unpacking some of the highly clinical, highly technical tools and tricks that clinicians use to help children and adults diagnosed with autism. They all flow out of the field of applied behavior analysis. And a lot of times we hear from parents that there's always something new with autism, right? There's always some new intervention, some new software blankets, something I can't keep track, and that's a hundred percent legitimate concern. It's, it's true. In this field, there's always something new coming over the horizon and a lot of old stuff that kind of cycles around.
Speaker 1 (00:53):
So to kind of respond to that about 10 years ago, a group of universities got together and formed the National Professional Development Center, NPDC, got props in N P D C the National Professional Development Center. And they asked the question like, what just works? What do we know? That just works not as the new thing on the horizon or the brand new but we've been doing this for several decades. So they put together a list of evidence based practices. And that's exactly what it sounds like evidence they had there's evidence that support the fact that they're effective across whatever population. And the evidence says you know, like the research says it's really great for, you know, six to 10 year olds, then that's evidence based for six to 10 year olds. So there's a list of evidence based practices and you can find it on this website, they sorted them out into the afirm modules, which has this very unfortunate email afirm.fpg.unc.edu.
Speaker 1 (01:54):
But there, you can learn a lot more about this. They've got sort of training modules that you can do, but right now we're just auditing them. It would be the best way. Cause a lot of parents also say you guys use a lot of language. I don't understand. I don't know. I don't understand all the terms. So that's what we're doing. We're doing a parent support university where we unpack all these really crazy clinical things. This week's is not going to be very difficult. It is peer mediated interventions. So what that means is that evidence there's, there's considerable evidence to support the fact that when you include a peer in educating and teaching someone on the spectrum there are benefits to it. And we, this is, we don't argue about this anymore. There's all kinds of books on it.
Speaker 1 (02:38):
There's videos, there's hundreds and hundreds of sort of examples. I'm going to touch on three today. But we also want to encourage you to find out more about us. Who are we what is AnswersNow? AnswersNow is a mobile platform that supports parents and caregivers of children diagnosed with autism and frankly, a wide range of disability categories ADHD, a learning disability, almost you name it, behavior analysis, not just for autism. So you can go to getanswersnow.com or go to your App store type in AnswersNow, no space see that in the app store and our little purple butterfly logo should come right up and you can download the app. You can sign up to get your own clinician. That's the kind of our main offering is you get a assigned your own clinician and can help you whenever you want.
Speaker 1 (03:36):
Or you can just sign up for just one time. Like maybe you've got a very specific question. We call this kind of the one offs, right? Like you can just call up, talk to a clinician and get your question answered. And as my uncle used to say, Bob's your uncle which sort of meant we're moving along. So yeah, so today we're talking about peer mediated interventions. How can we get kids or even adults, peers to help us out? So one of the, like there's all kinds of very standard ways and they're pretty easy to find you just type in peer interventions and autism. What I'm tricking to try to do is give you a little outside of the box, thinking maybe something you can do right away. So one of the challenges is that a lot of our kids are not sort of drawn to their peers, right?
Speaker 1 (04:23):
So there's not that many opportunities for peer intervention. So they might be in a self contained classroom with just a couple of other kids they could just not know how to do it, so they could be in a bigger classroom and there's all kinds of peers around. But they don't, they don't engage them and peers for the most part, unless you kind of coach them, probably not going to go up to a kid. Who's not talking to them very much. Like that's fairly normal behavior for most kids is it doesn't look like Jimmy wants to play very much, probably not going to go over there. So we're talking about ways to kind of the first step is how do we get those moments? So one of the easiest ways that I've done this in classes or clinics or wherever is I do get some of the peers involved and I find out what the kid likes, you know, and usually whether it's a food item or a iPad or something, and I just have the peers give it to the kid.
Speaker 1 (05:23):
So it doesn't look any more complicated than this say, Jimmy's sitting by himself on a bench. I say, Hey, Mike Jimmy really likes iPads. Can you just go give him his iPad? And so I just walks over and hands it to him. He doesn't hang out. He doesn't ask a bunch of questions. He doesn't, he just gives him this thing that he likes, or it could be that he really likes Dorito chips. And I say, Hey, Sarah, can you just go over and give him a Dorito, just hand it to him and then walk away unless he wants to engage and then go ahead. So what you're doing there is your making the peers have a kind of a higher value for the kid. So instead of not going towards them, suddenly, there's been a sort of a shift in the way that things work.
Speaker 1 (06:07):
Like, Hey, these people give me stuff, right. There are a source of things that I like. So what that'll do is that will begin. So what will happen if you keep doing it? And it doesn't take very long, is the, is the child diagnosed with autism will go from fairly neutral to his or her peers to start watching them more. Right? Like, I wonder if they're going to come over and give me something, right. So you'll start getting attention out. You know, a lot of our kids are very inwardly focused whether they're singing songs to themselves or thinking about stuff or whatever, I'm playing with their fidgets they're not generally, Hey, what's going on around me. So this first serves to pick that up, Hey, what's going on around me where where is Mike, where is Sarah? I might get my iPad.
Speaker 1 (06:53):
And then what you really want is to actually move right. Move towards them. So now you've got more opportunities to teach social skills, to teach, play skills, to teach all of those things that they would do with their peers. You just basically up the level of interest that they might have in their friends. The other one that let’s say this is largely for school aged kids, but if you are diagnosed with autism and are in a public school setting or even a clinical setting, there's not a whole lot of typically developing kids around. But there can be a fair amount of kids who've got, that are otherwise typical, but have behavioral issues. They usually fall into the category of emotionally disabled or disturbed ed kind of kids. And I have found over and over and over again, that those kids are great with the kids with more challenges that you might look at them and be like, Whoa, why would I ever ask that kid to do anything he's in trouble for fighting?
Speaker 1 (07:58):
He's like, but they tend to, for whatever reason, I don't exactly know, have a sensitivity about them, have a patience about them. That really comes out and it's great for them, right? They're usually in a position where they're getting in trouble for stuff. And this shifts things around and was like, Hey, no, no, no, you're not in trouble. I need you. I need you to help me out over here. See this kid over here. I want you to play catch with him. And a lot of times our kids are just more receptive to people closer to their own age, right? I'm 51. I'm working with a five year old kid. I am not his peer. But if I get a, maybe 10 year old kid who's in a part of the building for, you know, his own challenges.
Speaker 1 (08:40):
And I've never, I will, I will say that I've never had a bad experience. Never, not once had a bad experience with facilitating that. So there's two ideas. So one is how to kind of get your kid more sort of pointed out towards their peers and moving in their direction. And that's just having them randomly give him stuff super easy, low what we call response effort, right? Like it's not too hard for someone to walk over and give somebody a chip or something like that. The other is that you might have in your little circle around your child right now, a lot of people that you might not consider like, Hey, I wouldn't naturally think that that's the person that I want doing social skills with my kid or a peer mediated intervention. But they can be fantastic.
Speaker 1 (09:25):
And it's a great, it works great both ways. It helps both kids out. But I know that you are concerned about your kid. It will definitely help your kid out. The other one is not always thought of. Most kids have some thing that they're good at, right. Or that they're a little bit better than maybe the kid next to them at. So you have them kind of the same thing as the last one. You have them help another kid, right. Hey, you know how to add, I would like you to help me teach Max how to add. And again, this is one of those really powerful kind of shift the moments cause so many of our kids, if you're sitting here listening to this your kid probably is pretty impacted and spends most of their time being helped.
Speaker 1 (10:15):
Right. Someone's helping them get dressed, someone's helping them with school. So helping them on the bus. So it's helping them and that's great. Like they need that. But it's really powerful to have them help somebody else. And you might have to call my kid doesn't, you know, like he's, he's got all of his own challenges, right. But this just shifts the dynamic a little bit. And also it encourages them to sort of reach out into the world more. It gives them, I don't know what the word I'm looking for, maybe a little confidence or a reason to, to look around and be like, Hey, how, what, what can I do to participate socially, right? And not just a lot of our kids are, you know, we have them do activities, we have to do things.
Speaker 1 (11:02):
But this is helping someone else out. And there's especially in this time right now with everything that we're going to it's an important skill. And again, it shifts the narrative for them so much. Cause they're so used to I'm the one that needs help. Right? I'm the one that's struggling. I'm the one that can't do this thing. And it gives them a sort of a new perspective. So there's three things have peers just give your kid stuff. Like that's kind of the easiest one. See if you can involve some of the kids around them that might not seem like a natural, like the kids that you would normally be like, Hey, I need your help for this over here. Cause they're always in trouble. Those ed kids, I, I bring that up because so frequently those kids and kids on the spectrum, kids with disabilities are very near each other, right.
Speaker 1 (11:53):
In proximity that whether they're in a clinical setting or in a public school, like the classrooms for the kids, with autism and the classrooms for the behavioral kids tend to be pretty close together. And so you have, you have proximity there and you have a lot of opportunities. And the other one is see if you can find a way for them to help someone else out. Anything putting away stuff it can be anything, but just that you're soliciting them for their expertise in a particular area. So hopefully that's helpful. We went through some peer mediated ideas here. I am Adam Dreyfus. I'm the chief clinical officer of AnswersNow. We are a mobile based platform that supports parents and caregivers of children diagnosed with autism and a variety of other disability categories by putting a BCBA in your own pocket. And you can find out more about us at getanswersnow.com or you can go on your app store and whether it's your App store or the Android store and just type in AnswersNow. And no space, like don't put a space in there that apparently slows everything down. So we are continuing our parents support university. I Appreciate you. I hope that you and your family are safe and we will see you next week.