Pamela and I tried this recipe for making dry laundry soap, and we have a load of laundry soaking in 1/4 cup of this concoction. I cannot attest to the quality of the mixture at present:
1 bar of grated soap (I chose Ivory)
1 cup of Borax
1 cup of baking soda
When I studied the video, I realized how many objectives we covered during this activity: measuring dry ingredients, adding, experience sharing, joint attention, life skills, vocabulary, and nonverbal communication. The highlight for me was a ten-second nonverbal conversation between Pamela and me:
I was surfing the net for any good links about nonverbal communication and autism, and a passage explaining the DSM-IV criteria from the book Autism: Understanding the Disorder helped me glimpse the big picture about the strides Pamela is making:
The first criterion [under reciprocal social interaction] is "marked impairment in the use of multiple nonverbal behaviors such as eye-to-eye gaze, facial expression, body postures, and gestures to regulate social interaction." In the area of eye to eye gaze, a person with autism may avoid eye contact or, conversely, may stare so intently into the eyes of his listeners as to make them uncomfortable. With regard to facial expression, a person with autism may display a flat, blunted affect or alternatively may show an inappropriate amount or intensity of laughter or distress. Body postures or gestures may lack nonverbal enhancements such as head nodding, pointing, or the shrugging of shoulders. (pages 21-22)Let me catalog all of the awesome actions Pamela took to regulate our communication: Pamela turned her head to look where I held my gaze and assumed I wanted her to write something. She picked up the pencil with her right hand, switched it to her left hand, and momentarily leaned in to write. She shifted her gaze to watch me pick up the cup of baking soda. She pointed to the box of baking soda with her right hand, quickly glanced at me, and nodded and raised her eyebrows. She watched me shake my head and grab the baking soda, and she followed my movement with her eye gaze. When I put the box on the table, looked down on it and pointed to it, she glanced at me again, pointed to the cup, nodded, and raised her eyebrows again. She waited for my reaction and, when I pointed to her and then her paper, she turned her attention back to her paper.
And ALL of that took place in about ten seconds!