8-11 Summer Session #2

Hi Parents,

Monday was a pretty impressive day! Collectively, your kids were simply great, having conversations, following directions, and most importantly taking some interest in working on areas that appeared meaningful. I will get a survey out so we can start having Parent Meetings. I will offer one for this weekend and will also begin the Webinar meetings next week, most likely on Tuesday.

Sophie will be here today as well.

Now, for today, once the kids are back in the office, we will review LUNCH Points for those who have it (as of this writing, the night before, it looks like we will have at two three students who will bring in certificates.  To give you an example of the kinds of behaviors parents are choosing, I saw "while getting ready for bed, made a conversation and made eye contact" and "during the afternoon, followed a single request the first time without acting upset or irritated." Hopefully you will observe a behavior your child exhibits that will prompt you to give them a LUNCH Point certificate for next time. Feel free to ask or view the tutorial on the website if you have any questions. I had to create a work-around to temporarily make everything work and you were sent an email about this yesterday afternoon.

Around 9:30am we will head to Pinz Bowling in Studio City, traveling there by public bus. For snack, we may bring items with us to have once we arrive or we will be at a nearby bakery, depends on timing (FYI, at the bakery, we have the kids splitting larger muffins or similar items. We do not permit them to get cookies or other "dessert-type" items. For bowling, we are signed up as a "Camp," which means we can bowl as many games as we wish during a two hour period. In case that turns out to be too long, they will have a brief period of time at the game arcades and be able to return to play a little more after lunch.

Lunch itself will most likely occur at the train, i.e., Carneys, which is just a minute from the bowling alley. They have a variety of hot dogs, hamburgers, tuna sandwiches, Thai wraps, and will also make grilled cheese (which we will make certain is not actually done on the grill, but on foil for families that have dietary requirements). We typically let the kids get French fries and sometimes a small shake or medium drink.

After lunch, we will most likely head back to the bowling alley to allow the kids a longer period of time in the arcade. The staff control how many games they can play and we do not permit them to use games to dispense toys or candy. We also will encourage them to pair up with others rather than just playing single player games and also to observe as other group members are playing.

Once we're done, we will head back on the bus and spend the remainder of the afternoon either doing another project or game playing. There is a chance the kids will view some short videos or animations with the goal being to stimulate interactive conversations. We will have an optional afternoon snack around 3:45 PM.

You should have received your "Parent Tips" sheet which has instructions on how to reach us during the day. Looking forward to seeing everyone together.

You are welcome to make comments below. Just remember they are public, not private, and can be viewed by anyone.

P.S. The day went extremely smoothly. Probably the biggest area we worked on was emotional control related to trying new foods. There were about three group members with very limited skills and we had multiple opportunities to work on this during the day. You will be able to view videos of these interventions at the parent meetings. Additionally, some of the participants can be somewhat rigidly focused on wanting to engage in particular activities and dealing with these urges was another area of focus. Finally, we are observing the "social modeling" aspect of our program begin to have a greater positive effect on their behavior.

P.P.S. So, timing to go for the morning snack didn't work out as planned; the bus was about 20 minutes late heading to bowling. Instead, we offered the group plain bagels, with or without cream cheese, during bowling. Although not what we had planned, this actually worked out better because we were able to use "Contingency Management" techniques to set up conditions where they were more motivated to attempt behaviors that are "lower probability." In each case, we had some degree of success and continued this again at lunchtime for relevant students. For our afternoon snack, we did go to a bakery as promised, but elected to go to the Gelsons bakery and allowed them to have two small cookies. One student only wanted to have a croissant, which we did not permit since that wasn't one of the choices. Learning to accept or pass on items without making a big deal of out of it is one of the global group goals related to choice-making and emotional control. They all had bottles of water with them (we put their names on the caps and refill as needed).

P.P.P.S.  We watched some animations in the afternoon while all of the kids had an opportunity to take turns walking Sophie (she loved it!). Teaching them basic procedures, such as having her walk on their left, giving her proper commands to "sit," "heel," or "wait," and saying them assertively but without harshness or anger is a real skill-buildling exercise on its own.