Thursday, October 28, 2010

More on Gillian

It's been a few weeks since we got the official diagnosis on Gillian, and already, she's made great improvements in class with visual cues, social stories, and break time.

Gillian was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome a few weeks ago, through a series of tests that her school did with her (with our blessing). Even though she was only recently diagnosed, the school was aware of it being a possibility since last year, and while they could never officially put the social stories, visual cues, and break times into effect, they were able to do a few things that didn't require the help of the OT.

Right now, Gillian has a card on her desk that just describes behavior that is good, not good, and really not good (I can't recall what they call it, but they are divided by a Green, Yellow, Red system for good, slow down, stop). It describes different things, like raising her hand is good, while blurting out is not good. Hitting or shoving are really the only two things I recall in the Red section.

If something happens in the Yellow section, she is reminded to look over her card. If it happens more than once, she gets points taken away. If she does something in the red, then the school recognizes that she needs a break to regroup, and she goes to the break room, which has a lot of sensory items in it, such as a trampoline, a soft squishy "people squisher" (kids kind of roll through it, and are light squished, which is great for sensory), plus other items. She's allowed to request a break if she's feeling flustered, but what I noticed on Wed, is that she was requesting it just to go. I think right now, she's just loving it, and wants to go as much as possible.

In class, she also has a ruler she keeps on her desk, or carries around. On the back, there are numbers 1-25 on it in marker, then they have a laminated 'slide' with a window that is wrapped around it with her name. Every day, the ruler starts out on number 10. If she does something in the yellow or red, she gets a point taken away. However, if she does something good, she gets to add a point.

The traditional method in class is useful with the regular students, but does not work good with kids who have outside problems like Autism or Aspergers. For the other kids, they have a popsicle stick. They start off in box 1, and it gets moved down if they misbehave (usually after a warning or two) from Green, to Yellow, to Red.

With that system, there are no rewards for positive behaviour. A lot of what Asperger's kids struggle with, is social interaction. They may not know how to react, so they just react however they want, where as other kids learn early one that it's maybe not all right to brag about winning, or to scream if someone looks at them wrong, or what not. With the slide ruler point system, Gillian gets rewarded with points for good behavior while also getting points taken away for bad behavior. She has room to make up for having an outburst, where as before, she would just go down hill, because while bad behavior was recognized, good was not.

She has been doing a lot better in class, and has a great group of support at the school to help her. She loves her break times, and she'll tell anyone who asks all about her "Ashburger Syndrum".


the thrifty ba said...

i love that they are working with her. how many children were given up on years ago because we didnt even know about 'ashburger syndrum'?

FrugalMom said...

I'm so glad to hear that it is working out so well. I hope it continues that way.

jskell911 said...

My 14 year old son is an Aspie as well. And I am a firm believer that once you get that diagnosis and know what you are dealing with, it seems the improvements come quickly. And as a "bonus" I got handed the same diagnosis at age 32. It explains so much too.

Expressions by Heather said...

Jskell- I'm actually considering getting myself tested. Once I saw these traits as symptoms, and recognized them in Gillian, they remind me more and more of myself, and how I was as a child.