Changing our Message to Parents to Celebrate the Incremental Steps and Maintain Big Picture Thinking
One of my favorite songs has the choral line “Do You See What I See? Do You Know What I Know?” Last Saturday, we began our Saturday ABA School for early learners in our Michigan location. It was busy. We were sweating. The time went by fast…too fast.
Upon arrival as the children gathered, it looked chaotic to the observers eye. But these beautiful little people were excitedly exploring the room and the toys.
From beginning to end, everyone worked. The children worked on identified skills and the staff facilitated play skills, communication, self-help during snack/lunch, self-directed leisure, and participated in skill acquisition. The planned organization moved from station to station. The children were willing and sometimes hesitant participants…but that’s important too.
Understanding the incremental baby steps is important to celebrate. If within the span of four hours, we can celebrate a learner who likes to toss a ball alone who later moved to assisted tossing a ball with a peer is important. If within a span of four hours, we can celebrate a learner who is now manding, labeling-tacting, and then sitting at a table for self-directed leisure with no physical support or prompts, that is progress.
It’s the lens.
As a parent, often times the lens can be focused on the far reaching goal of “just talk”. And while that is important, the therapist and treatment plan is focused on the incremental steps to getting closer to the agreed upon big picture – far reaching goal.
These two perspectives must be taken into consideration when we think about Parent Training and even when communicating about a child’s day in treatment.
Here is a tip and script:
Today, John was able to sit and color by himself for 7 minutes. I celebrate this achievement today because self-directed leisure is important for home and safety. Now while he was able to do this in therapy, I will write down and show you how we were able to set him up for success. Our goal is for him to be able to carryover this skill at home and even longer periods of time to support his leisure time and your ability to reduce being on top of him throughout the day…giving everyone more breathing room and safety. We are still focused on the other goals that are important to both of us. But todya’s achievement is a good day for celebration in this area.
Long script right…it takes that much because the language we use to discuss progress and incremental achievements require
- Clear communication;
- The linear focused celebration;
- And acknowledgement of the broader picture.
Shining a light on incremental celebrations.
Let’s Keep Thriving!