Saturday, November 1, 2008

Awesome Day

It has been an awesome first day at the conference. I've met tons of parents and SLPs. The speakers have been excellent. My favorite so far is Peter Gerhardt. You can access his PowerPoint presentation here. He talked about creating meaningful jobs for people on the spectrum. Jobs that they are interested in. He also challenged everyone to raise the bar of expectation. It was inspiring and challenging.

We've had a ton of traffic at the National Autism Resources booth and that's been great!

I've been up since four, so I'm going to bed now. I'll blog lots more tomorrow, if I survive.


The Glasers said...


I like what Peter Gerhardt said at the beginning of his presentation. He is quoting the same studies as Steve Gutstein does and is coming to the same conclusion: success in school and even college does not automatically translate to success in real life. If the proponents of ABA seriously start to address that issue, it will be a good thing for the families who do ABA.

I am a biased against ABA so you can take this with a grain of salt. I do not agree with his solution because ABA is a static way of addressing autism. Children who undergo ABA succeed in school because our education system prizes static abilities: learning procedures, thinking in the box, taking multiple choice tests, etc. Until ABA figures out a way to teach children to think outside of the box, solve problems dynamically, learn indirectly, etc., I believe there will still be this problem.

That is why I find RDI more helpful. RDI acknowledges that the great strength of autistic children is static learning. Pamela learned her calendar skills (knowing the day of the week given the month, day, and year) through her eye for patterns, a static ability. Rather than developing that part of the brain even more, I find it more beneficial to develop the area where she is weak: dynamic thinking. It is slower and not as exciting as ABA, but I think in the long run will pay off for us!

Thanks for sharing! I am glad to see that ABA proponents are beginning to address a long-term issue.

Katherine said...

I've been thinking about you today Bonnie; I hope that your weekend is both exciting and refreshing! I can't wait to hear more about it!

Casdok said...

Greay news re your traffic!
Will have a look at the presentation - thanks.

Bonnie said...

Hi Glassers,

Great comments as usual. I agree ABA is not the end all. It is good for some things, like building vocabulary, teaching routine tasks, ect..

In terms of job training for older individuals ABA can be very helpful in terms of breaking down tasks, but I agree there must be more: dynamic thinking, problem solving... I don't think ABA is the best route for this.

However, if behavioralists continue to focus on meaningless tasks, and disregard the autistic individual as a person no one will benefit.