So here we are doing Floortime in the car. Let’s watch the video then discuss…
There is no such thing as a perfect Floortime session… Just have fun!
- I can ‘feign ignorance‘ a bit more rather than responding with what I know my son is thinking about, even though he isn’t making it clear. I’m relying to much on my memory of our shared experiences. That is, I could have presented more challenges and pretended I didn’t remember what he was referring to.
- For instance, when he says “Berkshire train!” in response to a question about something being under construction, I could have said “Berkshire train?” all puzzled… “Where?” or “What about it?” or “What are you thinking about?”
- I could have used less language. Some of my responses were far too lengthy than need be. I also made a lot of comments that included a lot of language.
- I was pretty good at following his cues and staying with his interests, but I did on occasion persist on something I was talking about regardless of keeping his attention, such as when I talked about how last time we turned around to take a different route to avoid waiting for the train.
- We could have reflected a bit more on his emotions and what made him so excited (wanting to see the mountain train on the track), surprised, or upset (such as when I suggested we’d have to wait for the train or would pass by the train yard).
Strategy A1. Follow cues:
- I tuned in to my son and saw he was eager to talk about the model train shows and trains, and I followed his interest by responding accordingly.
Strategy A2. Be responsive & 3.3: Wait:
- I responded to his initiations and waited, giving him time to respond back.
- e.g., “It’s pulling something…” There was a pause and he said “logs.” I replied, “I wonder what the logs are for…” and he replied “Construction!”
Strategy A8. Embrace feelings:
- I tuned in to my son and saw he was excited
- e.g., “Are you excited? I think so!” and later narrating for him, “Yes! I am excited!”
Strategy 2.5. Emphasize affect:
- I used a lot of expression and affect in my voice, emphasizing certain things he would be excited about or to capture his attention.
Strategy 3.4. Sportscaster/narrator:
- I repeated back or paraphrased what he said to assure him I heard and understood what he was saying.
Strategy 3.8. Consider questions:
- I often commented in my responses rather than asking a lot questions.
- e.g., “Maybe we will see a no. 6 train.” rather than “Do you think we’ll see a no. 6 train?”
- When I did ask questions, I tried to make them relevant and clear for him.
- e.g., “What are the logs for?” He replied, “Construction!” and “What’s that on that picture?!” (pointing emphatically to the billboard) He replied, “Hotdog!”
Strategy 3.6. Easy choices:
- When my son couldn’t respond to the questions, I offered easy choices to help him answer the question.
- e.g., “Are you counting hopper cars or tanker cars?” He replied “Tanker cars!” and later about the train he was talking about “What colour were they?” He replied “a different kind…” so I followed up with “Were they pink?” and he said “Blue!”
Strategy 4.1. Stretch interactions:
- I expanded the topics we discussed in our conversation whenever I could to keep the circles of communication going.
- e.g., “Hmm… maybe some other things… maybe some bicycles… and I wonder who is in the house…” and “Hmm… I wonder if they’re going to go fast or slow?”
Strategy 6.6. Build bridges:
- When I could, I logically connected two ideas we talked about.
- e.g., I validated when he made the connection between the construction we saw on the road in that moment and the bridge construction we saw earlier in the day at the model train club. When he brought up a “Northern train”, I prompted him to make the connection about where else there was a northern train. He responded when I further prompted him by asking what was on his shirt and he responded “Northern train!”
Strategy 6.8. Incite thinking & 3.1: Invite circles:
- I used “hmm…” statements to peak his interest to elicit a response, and also to keep the conversation going. I also initiated some new ideas by pointing out things he could see out the window to keep some interaction going.
- e.g., “Hmm… I wonder what else could be in that garage?” and “Look, a green tractor” He replied “and a black truck” and “truck’s dirty” I responded “Hmm… I wonder how it got dirty?”
Until next time… here’s to affecting autism through play!