This scares me. Or maybe scared isn’t the word. Worried, concerned, frustrated, and a little sad.
Wilson knew all these answers like the back of his hand last year. (see video below)
He practiced this information with 4-5 different therapists, numerous times a day, across different settings and at home with us over the course of several months.
At Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy, he does programs like this until they are considered “mastered.” The only thing is, if we don’t continue to practice, they don’t always remain mastered.
Some things are so much easier for him to learn than others. He has made so much progress, I can’t nearly begin to list it all: some self-coping and self-care skills, using longer phrases, sharing, awareness of peers and his environment, and the list goes on.
But sometimes it’s almost as if the new progress replaces things he has already learned.
He must memorize so much. Like answers to use in conversation like shown in this video. Spontaneous answers are tough for him; he works hard to “find” that information that he has already tucked away.
During this time of quarantine, change of routine and learning in a new environment, our fears of regression are not about ABC’s and 123’s. If we aren’t moving forward, we are moving backward. There is no middle ground. For Wilson, regression can look like rigidity and repetition, language and skill loss, and even hurting himself.
One thing for certain is that he is putting the work in, every single day.
When you see him down the line and say something, only to get a blank stare in return, it’s because he likely didn’t understand the question, or cannot find the words to respond. He might repeat the question back to you. You can give him an answer to repeat: “Wilson, you can say, ‘I’m good!’” this is such great practice for him. I promise he is happy to have your attention and wants to interact with you… he is just still working hard to figure out this whole verbal communication thing.
Clink on image below to view the video: