Report from observations: autistic Anthony begins therapy assisted by the ABA DrOmnibus app. Will he learn to control his emotions?
Meet Antoś Ć., a first-grader in an inclusive school who needs constant motivation from the teacher during lessons. At this point, when he’s given tasks to do on his own, he ends up lying down on the carpet or disturbing other children. This is why we work a lot together. As the support teacher, I try to activate him and help him. Antoś’s biggest problem is with his communication skills, which are lacking due to his deficits.
The boy barely talks, only answering ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to the teacher’s questions. Sometimes, when he’s very excited, he might say a few sentences at a time. He doesn’t talk with his peers, but you can see he wants to play with them, even though he doesn’t respect the rules of the group.
He sometimes gets aggressive towards others, for instance, when he wants to make contact or draw someone’s attention, he starts throwing pencils or other objects at them or hitting them with his hand. He doesn’t always understand that he’s hurting someone – he has problems with empathy.
Antoś sometimes shows emotional dysregulation, with bouts of rebelliousness and anger. On several occasions, he started throwing objects and shouting loudly. When he’s in a good mood, he’s very cheerful, likes to make jokes and enjoys being praised.
The beginning of the school year was difficult for Antoś. The boy had problems learning to sit at a desk for a set period of time. Slowly, however, he got used to the school rhythm, and protested less often. With time, however, he slowly got used to the school rhythm and protested less. Now, with each month, he’s more and more eager to work. When he’s in a good mood, he does his task with the help from his teacher, but with the same speed as the rest of the class. If something interests him, he does certain things even faster, and we complete additional tasks. Antoś has difficulty listening to longer utterances and understanding the texts he reads. He needs to have the texts divided into short fragments, and to have additional explanations and the instructions read to him a few times. As long as you use short, clear instructions, Antoś does the tasks you give him correctly. He does not speak up on him own in class. He’s answered a question with a full sentence a few times, and he usually speaks to the teacher only. He’s learning to read. He reads the texts word by word, sometimes he reads them out loud a letter at a time. He can recognise letters and write words.
Antoś has difficulty with concentration. He often gets into a ‘suspended’ state, or moments of ‘absence’, after which he needs some time to come back to the subject or task he was working on. He learns mathematical skills decidedly faster than linguistic skills. He loves all forms of equations and calculations. He’s interested in numbers, but text-based tasks give him trouble.
I’ve with children with SEND for many years. I’m interested in new means of education and therapy.
I decided that me and Antoś will join the DrOmnibus Inclusive Education project. I hope that he’ll find mobile apps in the form of educational games very appealing, and that they will let him learn through fun and inspire positive emotions in him, which will motivate him to speak up spontaneously’, she tells us enthusiastically.
I think that the games, thanks to their design whereby the child goes through increasing levels of difficulty and comes back to the skills that still require learning, will let Antoś develop rapidly, expand his vocabulary and, importantly in his case, learn to associate names with their representations, that is, their images. I’m especially interested in Antoś learning to recognise emotions of other people, which is a feature of the app. Working on emotions might turn out to be very helpful in building correct relationships with his peers and learning to maintain them.
I hope that our participation in the project and our progress reports will be useful for other teachers and students with similar issues, and maybe they’ll also be helpful for parents. I’ll be happy if that happens.
It’s the beginning of the road and a unique experiment. It’s time to get working! Bye-bye!