We recently started Applied Behavior Analysis with E. From the first day, the therapist identified that E. needed to be able to follow directions without melting down. (Kind of a "duh" moment for us...) E. is extremely good at avoiding activities that he doesn't want to do, and once he has slipped into "meltdown mode," it's challenging to get him back on Planet Earth.
After three sessions that basically consisted of the therapist trying to get E. to participate in family life and E. having a meltdown for almost the entire session, the decision was made to create a structured schedule for the summer that includes time for chores and daily living activities with built-in natural rewards. I know that E. can flourish with this type of schedule; I've seen him do it when he was at Children's. I've thought that E. would actually do really well in the military, except for the whole shooting people with guns thing.
On Tuesday, we sat down with our Wraparound parent partner and hammered out a schedule for the summer:
8:30 Take medication, feed cat, feed fish
9:30 TV time
10:30 Book time
11:00 Clean up and chores
12:00 to 5:00 Free time. May use one hour of TV and play outside, as long as chores are done.
5:00 Help with dinner prep
7:00 Kitchen cleanup
7:30 Room pickup and inspections followed by bath/shower time
8:00 “Simpsons” if room is clean and shower is done
We start implementing the schedule today. I'm suspecting that we are going to have some resistance at first, but I'm hoping that E. will adapt to it. I'm also concerned about days that don't follow the schedule, such as when M. has her speech therapy on Tuesdays and E.'s own appointments (which might be increasing drastically in August... more on that later...). Once a schedule is set and details are hammered out, he tends to fixate on them.
I think E. will like having set times for each item. One of his first questions when we have a potential event is "What time will it be?" If I can't give him an exact time for when something will occur, he gets extremely agitated, sometimes even to the point of melting down. "Later" is never an acceptable answer; neither is "sometime this afternoon."
I'll update with how it goes....