I haven't been doing many planned engagements with Nick over the last two weeks. We have been cruising through the days, doing the same activities that Nick knows well and is comfortable with. I have been mindful about giving him opportunities to *think for himself*, however, I haven't set up any little challenges for him. I haven't taken into account the *'edge plus one' concept.
This is where the importance of having a plan in place really makes a difference. Nick needs planned engagements in order to progress. I need to put thought into framing an activity that ensures I am addressing 'edge plus one'. I also need to be very aware of how I am going to guide him. I don't want to *tell* him what to do as my wish is to provide him with the opportunity to *discover* and learn from his experiences.
When writing up a framework for my chosen activity, I ask myself the following...
What is my objective for the activity?
What are our roles throughout the activity?
What style of language am I going to use to ensure that Nick *thinks for himself*?
What do I think Nick's edge of competence is?
What do I have in mind to ensure that he goes that extra step?
Note: When engaging with Nick, I continually ask myself, "is Nick operating on a conscious level?" Generally, when I see that he has *switched off*, I will pause and wait for him to reconnect.
This will all sound familiar if you have read, It's not about the carrot!
Anyhow, I thought I would share some video footage of an activity that we did a couple of days ago. Please remember that what we are doing and how I approach each situation is my own interpretation of what I am learning as we go through the RDI program.
Funnily enough this is another kitchen activity, a place where we both feel very comfortable and relaxed. We are revisiting a familiar cooking activity and it is one that I know Nick feels competent with. I decided that I was going to bring in the challenge of using large tongs (Nick has used these once before, however, he needs more practice). Nick's challenge/plus one was to use the tongs to pick up and transfer each chicken piece over to the pan on the stove.
I purposely cut the chicken up slowly, piece by piece in order to slow down the activity and really make it more meaningful. Due to the distance between the counter and stove, Nick was going to have to concentrate and apply enough pressure to the tongs to hold the chicken in place!
There are two things that I really like about the clip below (Kitchen one). Nick really perseveres with the task at hand and his resilience is shining through. I like that I spotlight what is happening so that Nick is hearing my thoughts as well as seeing what is unfolding before him.
Just for interest sake ~ when we first started RDI, Nick was only able to tolerate 10 seconds of actually being with me!
I start off this second clip (Kitchen two) with my eyes closed. Nick was getting a bit stimmy and distracted. He kept wanted to touch my face and also put his face close to mine (note to self: the kid needs some deep pressure around the jaw line!). Throughout the activity I was trying to think of ways to slow him down a bit and encourage him to leave my face alone!! I don't know where the idea came from but I decided to close my eyes and see what happened. My plan was successful and Nick actually became more engaged.
Just for interest sake ~ our dogs were in the kitchen, however, they were fast asleep. What a luck!
The clip below (Kitchen three) shows that Nick has discovered how to manipulate the tongs to hold the piece of chicken. I purposely spotlight his success.
We are nearing the end of our planned engagement (Kitchen four). Although Nick is very engaged, I can feel that he has just about reached his limit with this particular activity. However, I just want to push him a tiny bit further in order to finish the cycle off placing the chicken in the pan. I took care to spotlight that Nick was able to pick up the chicken and put it in the pan. We end on success!
So, there you have it. A lovely planned engagement with Nick. He was connected, referenced me for information and wasn't stressed when something didn't work out as planned, He was thinking on a conscious level and at times actually seemed to enjoy spending time with his mum. I think that he did great! :)
As for me, I am happy with myself that I took it slow and ensured that I paused a lot, in order to give both me and Nick some thinking time. I provided scaffolding when necessary and also stepped back when I thought Nick needed a little push. I feel that I am getting better at speaking my thoughts and spotlighting important moments.
Nick also figured out how to use the tongs ~ win, win!
Feel free to comment or ask me any questions!