Monday, October 13, 2008

Blanket Pre-Quel #2

Last Wednesday, we did our first preview of a mission to make a no-sew, reversible fleece blanket for Pamela's cousins' baby, born a month early last Friday, and doing well all things considered. On Friday, I wrote a future story (shown above) using the word will for Pamela's association method tablework (or should I say rocking-chair-work). My goal was to preview the next day's trip to Walmart to select two pieces of fleece (a pattern with a complementary pattern). On Saturday, we bought enough fleece to make a blanket for the newborn and maybe even both blanket and pillow for Baby Alive, and, as you can see below, Ariel and the color purple won. We even found a sample Hannah Montana no sew fleece blanket, already made, and Pamela's eyes lit up when she saw a blanket in real life. I hope to start working on it tomorrow since our deadline is October 24.

Previewing future activities works on episodic memory, which F.A.C.T explains as follows:
Episodic Memory
Allows us to anticipate future possibilities, and learn from past mistakes. Memories of success are stored and used to develop perseverance and resilience. Builds motivation to endure challenges. Allows us to prepare for potential future scenarios and expect future uncertainty.

Why is this important? The Pathways Treatment Center explains that autistic children tend to be very strong in storing procedural memory (details, scripts, formulas for behavior). Often autistic children will lock into static patterns in life, such as the order of aisles you take while shopping or the route you drive to the store, and flip out when you deviate from it. They pick up on verbal scripts whether taught explicitly in the form of therapy or picked up from movies and television. Those with high IQs excel in academics because they memorize facts easily.

Autistic children tend to be weak in storing episodic memory, which focuses on the whole, not the parts; the big picture, not the factual details. In this case, the brain stores information in episodes, including emotions. In RDI, we take great pains to find meaningful experiences we can share and build upon. By previewing a future experience in different ways, I am teaching her to anticipate storing a future episode.

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