Saturday, May 15, 2010
Learning to look others in the eyes
This was a typical Alex pose when spoken to until he was 3.5 yrs. or so. The ABA therapists targeted this trait specifically and he learned to face others and to look them in the eyes. They identified and corrected undesirable behavior, and reinforced desirable ones, to great effect.
He rapidly went from eye contact aversion to direct eye contact to....a photogenic ham :)
The therapist working with him at the time would sit in front of Alex and would repeat, "Look at me". When he would look away, the therapist would gently move his face to face her's and would engage his eyes with her's. She would then praise him when he looked. The therapy was firm but gentle...and always consistent. There would be 3-4 therapists a day rotating in. This was by design as he had to get used to broken routines and new faces. Although he had a core cadre of teachers, the routine would be jumbled sometimes so he had to get used to unexpected events. The staff kept detailed journals to ensure continuity of the program. They really did a great job. We were so lucky to have had them. They put their hearts into it. Alex reaped the benefits...as did we.