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Children and Youth Service
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School Talk


1 Month Intensive Treatment Beneficiaries 2020-01-21

“I can control myself!”

We may tap our feet or snap our fingers when we feel bored. For Chun Tin, he likes to make weird sounds to stimulate himself. Our therapist encouraged Chun Tin to put his hands nicely and keep quiet with the use of tokens. He has begun to regulate his behaviours, so the therapist gradually incorporated more programmes for him. After the training, Chun Tin has been able to keep quiet for a longer period of time and to express his needs by saying “I want” spontaneously.

“Sharing toys”

Sharing is an important topic for each child. Eden was 4 years old and he felt that everything belonged to him. When we wanted to play toys with Eden together, he threw tantrums, pushed us away and said, “This is mine!”. During the training, our therapist told Eden in advance that he was going to take away the toy, and then praised Eden for staying calm right after he took the toy away. Eden has gradually learnt taking turns and sharing toys with others. When we asked Eden if we could play together, he said generously, “OK!”

“Attention seeking”

There is always a function behind the misbehaviour of children with autism. One of the common functions is to seek attention. Ronnie always cried and vomited purposefully to seek his mother’s attention to prevent her leaving our centre. He also kept asking our therapist for water and going to the washroom to escape from training. Our therapist therefore helped Ronnie explore new interests and be patient to decrease his attention-seeking behaviours. Ronnie has gradually learnt to stay calm while separating from his mother and to sit nicely in lessons.

“I want to eat chocolate!”

One day, Hiu Wo was trying to copy his therapist to say “I want to eat chocolate.” But eventually, “I (cho)colate,” he said. Hiu Wo’s therapist revealed that Hiu Wo could only speak three syllables at a time and always tried to imitate what she said before she finished saying her line. The therapist taught Hiu Wo to wait and say complete sentences to get what he wanted (reinforcers). After a month of training, Hiu Wo has been able to express himself in full sentences. Hiu Wo’s mother was excited to see Hiu Wo’s improvement.

“Maths lessons”

Chun Hei who was almost 6 years old, could only solve addition problems with sums to 10. He used his fingers to count starting from 1 instead of the addends. Our therapists first taught Chun Hei simple addition problems within 10. Chun Hei learnt adding up numbers starting from one of the augends in the equation. We also strengthened his arithmetic skills through a block stacking game with numbers. After training, Chun Hei has been able to solve addition problems by adding a single-digit number to a two-digit number without using his fingers!

“Yes or No”

Vihaan did not understand the meaning of “yes” and “no”. Our therapist intentionally asked him, “Are you a girl?” Vihaan answered, “Yes.” Our therapist then designed a programme to teach Vihaan how to answer yes-no questions. The therapist first started with real objects. For example, she held an apple and asked Vihaan, “Is this an orange?” Then she prompted him to answer “no”. After a series of training sessions, Vihaan has not just been able to answer yes-no questions related to real objects, but he can also answer abstract questions correctly.

"Sustained attention"

The ability to sustain attention is critical to learning. However, Reina was restless and had a short attention span. Our therapist first reinforced Reina with toys after completing a small task. Then more matching exercises were added to Reina’s training programme to extend her training time gradually. Reina could only match 1 to 2 pairs of objects in the beginning. Now she is able to sustain her attention to match 10 pairs of objects. It’s incredible.

Chun Tin, Eden, Ronnie, Hiu Wo, Chun Hei, Vihaan and Reina were invited to present their experience in receiving ABA services with Autism Partnership Foundation (operating in Hong Kong) (APF, HK). Chun Tin, Eden, Ronnie, Hiu Wo, Chun Hei, Vihaan and Reina are past beneficiaries of APF, HK.