Seymour and I had a meeting with Leelo's Supervisor E tonight, to discuss our family's ongoing behavioral efforts to help Leelo manage his aggression. (Supervisor E has taken over the greatly-reduced home component of Leelo's learning, whereas Supervisor M focuses on working with Leelo's curriculum and classroom work, and ensuring classroom-to-home consistency.)
I enjoy our meetings with Supervisor E. It is like going to church in that our goals, our reasons, and our knowledge about Leelo and his behavior are clarified and reinforced, and we take in more of the True Path, the one that will continue to show our son The Way.
Here is what we discussed tonight:
Overall the tone of our interactions with Leelo needs to be very clear. Positive for positive behavior, neutral/unengaged for undesired behavior. He needs to learn to get our attention by behaving well, not badly.
- If he is behaving in desired manner, one we want to reinforce and have him repeat, we give him constant positive verbal reinforcement.
- The moment he acts out, our tone becomes flat and business-like, with interactions kept as brief as possible.
- Use visual supports.
- Activity schedules help Leelo organize and anticipate. They also facilitate more independence, as he can scan and work through much of his schedules without external input or prompting.
- Individual icons are good for easing transitions (e.g., icons used in car: "Put on Seatbelt," etc.)
- Lots and lots of non-contingent positive praise/reinforcement (e.g., While in car, every minute or so say something like, "Leelo, you are doing a good job keeping shoes on!")
- Warn Leelo about what is happening next.
- Let Leelo know when we will be turning attention away from him.
- Evade. Step back, get out of the way.
- Say "STOP!" (This is a specific direction that tells him what to do, as opposed to non-specific "NO!")
- Give a single, one-step direction, e.g., "sit down."
- We do not want Leelo to learn that attacking gives him big screeching reactions from his parents. He needs to receive NO reinforcement for such behavior.
- Supervisor E will be back in two weeks, and in the interim will be thinking about a small reinforcement system that we can use for Mali, to get her to stop reacting so extremely when Leelo targets her. Her fear is legitimate and her shrieking understandable, but if we can get her to run away and not scream, Leelo will lose his reinforcement and she will be safer.
- In Supervisor E's experience, punishment rarely works with kids like Leelo. They don't know why you are doing it, and it makes them feel like they are being attacked for no reason.
- Maintain same lovely, happy, snuggly bedtime routine.
- Once our boy is tucked in bed, nice mommy and daddy are all done and all-business mommy and daddy emerge.
- Any getting out of bed, even for legitimate toilet needs, is met with only the bare minimum required interaction, and no eye contact.
- Same phrase, "back in bed," is used consistently and with no affect.