Last fall, David presented me with a problem he had with Pamela, and a solution. Although he's only seventeen, he knows more about autism than some people and is an awesome brother. One day, he asked if he could borrow her Game Boy and she flatly refused him. He suggested that the three of us (Steve, David, and I) model borrowing in front of Pamela. I brought it up with our RDI consultant, and we picked an objective focusing on episodic memory. Our goal was to give Pamela opportunities to practice borrowing and loaning items, paying attention to feelings.
Off and on, we have been spotlighting borrowing, slowing working from her perspective to ours.
* We looked through old pictures of people sharing with her and talked about how she felt when others shared.
* We looked at pictures of us sharing food with animals (mule deer and birds) and two boys sharing an umbrella. We talked about feelings. We talked about David sharing his legos with Pamela while looking at old picture of him playing with them.
* In the moment of sharing, we talked about her feelings: letting her use my computer and look through pictures kept in a box. Then, David brought down his legos for her to play and we reflected on our mutual feelings.
* I began asking to borrow things from her but did not force her if she strongly objected. In my probing over time, I figured out electronics to be the common denominator! She has a hard time sharing her Game Boy, old TV guides, DVDs, and books having to do with television.
Procrastinating, instead of blogging for most of last month, I figured it was time to share. I am not kidding you about procrastinating as Pamela and I are still finishing up handmade cards for a Christmas card exchange we did with other autistic children. Pamela drew animals, and we brainstormed puns for the greeting. When we first tried this in December, Pamela reacted neutrally. Monday was our third batch of cards, and she laughed her head off at the puns. Then, she came up with her own and laughed at them too!
While making the cards, I worked on borrowing, pushing the envelope all the way to the mother of all borrows: a DVD. She clearly did not like my sneaky ways but did not scold me or react strongly.
What I love most about these two videos is how expressive Pamela is. She speaks both declaratively, sharing what she is doing. Her laugh is engaging and sweet.