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EXPANDING SOCIAL INTERACTION AT LEVEL TWO

Updated: May 13, 2021


Here's the video of Joyce and Oliver, as promised in episode 70 of the podcast. It shows an early stage of their social game, which later developed lots of initiation and vocal play from Oliver.

WHAT'S IN THE VIDEO

The video demonstrates an early interaction with Oliver when he was at mid Level Two. You can see how attentive he is to my face. He shows engagement by staying with the activity and shows affect by smiling. I'm trying out some things to see how he responds. Sometimes I buzzed my lips because that was one of his favorite babbing sounds. I was also saying "ma ma ma" to see if he moved his lips in response to that. I tickled him to add enjoyment and engagement.


You can see that when I was saying "ma ma ma" he was watching my lips and moving his. I decided, though, to use the buzzing sound because it was something he already did well on his own. I thought if I used buzzing during our activity that he would be more likely to return it in a back-and-forth routine with me.

He seemed to respond more when I buzzed the bottom of his feet compared to when I buzzed his belly. We were able to watch each other's faces when I raised his legs up and blew on the soles of his feet, so it was a better social interaction. He was already able to raise his feet independently, so I just needed to show him that was part of the game. When we first started doing this social game, I'd buzz my lips then pause for a reaction from him. At first I accepted any kind of wiggle or smile that showed he was engaged. After his signal, I'd gently raising his legs, buzz his feet then let his legs drop down. I'd initiate a new turn by buzzing my lips and waiting. Over time, Oliver started raising his feet without my assistance to take his turn. Sometimes I could see him moving his lips together and a few times he buzzed his lips while we were doing this. By the next week, Oliver was consistently lifting his legs after I initiated the buzzing sound. He was doing a lot more lip buzzing during the routine, as well. Eventually, Oliver started buzzing his lips and lifting his legs as soon as we were in position to play. He could play this for several minutes. I ended the game before he lost interest.

GOOD EXAMPLE, BECAUSE

This was a good example of shaping. I started at his current level, and I had a clear idea of where he could develop next with the skill.


I carefully observed Oliver's current level of performance and started with a behavior he could already do (buzzing). I showed him something a little bit more he could do with it (do it in the context of this game; do it after I do it).


I used wait time to give Oliver the opportunity to attempt the skill. I reinforced all his participation by buzzing his feet, but gave extra-good buzzes when he was also buzzing.

BAD EXAMPLE, BECAUSE

This is an example of how we often shape a behavior that we don't intend, and we don't recognize that we're doing it.


I did not think far enough ahead when I started this game with Oliver. I was thinking of the fun we could have when we were all done with changing his diaper. I forgot to anticipate that he would want to do the game with other people, too.


Oliver's parents did not know about the game, and did not want to play with a wiggly tyke when they were changing his diaper. They did not respond to his invitations to play, when he raised his feet or wiggled.


What happens when a behavior is consistently ignored? The first response it to try harder--do it more often, do it with more effort. So Oliver really started raising his feet and moving them around, until he was flipping himself right over!


That is not what Oliver's parents had in mind for getting dressed after a diaper change! They consistently corrected him by rolling him back over and finishing with getting him dressed.


After a period of time, Oliver no longer used his foot-lifting and wiggling to invite play during the changing routine. The behavior was not reinforced and so it was extinguished (went away).


I should have anticipated where this game was headed, and chosen either to do something similar at a different place or time (like tickling during play time), or to target a different behavior (like only buzzing lips back and forth instead of buzzing on his feet).


I confess, though, we sure had fun while it lasted!

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Joyce is very knowledgeable. Not only as a speech therapist but also on how the school system works. Which is very helpful going through the IEP process. She was able to engage with my daughter and was never hesitant to help in any way. I would definitely recommend Joyce to anyone that is looking for a trustworthy, caring and informed speech therapist.

- AUTUMN MARSHALL, PARENT