Autism. Currently working on making 'best choices'

I haven't said much about our RDI program for a while.

Currently, Bright Eyes is working on two objectives in Stage 5 of RDI, one of which is working out how best to help the people around him. The other one is this:

'You recognize that your first choice of what to do might not be the best one. You realize that it is better to stop and think about other choices you might have before you decide.'

For a child who is 100 miles an hour and extremely spontaneous and impulsive, this can be pretty difficult, but he's getting it pretty well.

We had a weekend away with our cousins recently, which afforded some great opportunities to work on helping him think about 'making the best choices'.

Pounding the dog

The poor dog had a hard weekend, getting a little bit of 'overlove' from all the children. When AP saw Bright Eyes sitting next to him, tapping him vigorously on the head, he said, "Do you think that's the best thing you could do with Soren?"

Bright Eyes went for his cheeky grin expression and said, "It's the best option for me!"

I said,"Hmm. It might be good for you, but I'm a bit worried about Soren. It doesn't look like it's good for him! Is there another way you could pat Soren so you'll both be happy?" Immediately the hitting turned to patting but the cheeky grin stayed on.

Walking to the park

Bright Eyes enjoyed a walk to the park, and the playtime there, but he was complaining bitterly on the way home. His dad said, "We could have gone this way, or we could have gone another way home. Which do you think was the best choice for us?"

"Not this one!" said Bright Eyes with a groan.

Swapping seats

The most amusing episode was at dinner one night. We were pretty short on dining chairs around a smallish table with lots of kids and chaos.

Bright Eyes finished his dinner and asked to leave the table, whereupon my dad sat in his seat, having been perched on a deck chair previously.

When we announced icecream, the children came back to the table.  Bright Eyes looked at my dad and said in quite a rude tone, "You're in my seat Grandpa. I want to sit there."

My dad handled it really well, having seen us do "What's the best option" for two straight days.

"Hmmm," he said. "I wonder what else you could do if you want me to move, because I don't think saying that is going to work."

Bright Eyes considered for a millisecond and then got up, went behind my dad, and started to push him off the chair.

"Well, I don't think that option is going to work either. You might need to think of something else," my dad said.

At this point, the helpful six year old girl cousin was practically yelling, "ASK HIM TO SWAP! ASK HIM TO SWAP!"  And in the middle of all the noise and chaos, Bright Eyes realised that words would be in order, so he tried a new combination of words like, "Grandpa, that's my chair!" but again, Grandpa didn't move.

I suggested to him that, "Perhaps you need to think about where Grandpa could sit IF he moves?" Bright Eyes thought about that for a second, and finally, finally got the idea that he needed to suggest a swap.

He didn't quite have the words, but it was good enough. When my dad sat down on the other chair, he said, very helpfully, "Actually, this is a good option for me. It's lower. That one was a bit higher. But you're in the higher chair now, so that's a good option for you. Swapping was a clever thing to do."

And at that point, everyone who had been watching with bated breath breathed a big sigh of relief and Bright Eyes ate his icecream.