Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Can We Go?

Can we go? this little boy asks by pushing the talking button. Mom shakes her head no and they wait or nods yes and they move to the next orange flower. Those of you who know RDI will recognize this game--which we have taken and done with a variety of children in many different versions. It is a great Moving Together Game and if ever there was a game to teach your child, this is it. Regardless if your child as Asperger Syndrome and is highly verbal or if your child has just acquired some early Joint Attention skills and barely able to stay with you in a game with several steps--this is still a great game to teach. Model the game for your child with another adult or with another child or let your child watch a video model of the game first. Don't give up without showing your child the game over and over and helping your child learn the game many times. This child needs the Talking button to communicate verbally but for many children, we have someone stand behind the child and ask the adult partner Can we go? until the child can ask this for him or herself. Your child can just say Go? or even nod yes as a question. We don't care how the child communicates in this game because we are trying to teach the child to watch the adult, ask for permission, enjoy the no as much as the yes since the no is never final in this game. The adult should be focused just as this mom is. When the roles are reversed, and the adult is asking the child for permission to go, the adult must be very animated in facial expression. If the child says no, the adult sags and pouts and pretends to be very disappointed. Then asks again. If the child says yes, the adult grins and moves happily to the next location. Every time the adult models disappointed, the child sees how to accept a no without a meltdown.

On the new Moving Together Games page on Autism Games Website I discuss versions of Can We Go? I have put one clip from the website below. There is a version that I wish I had on video tape to show you. Some years ago, there was a dad/son team who played this game. The first time the son, David, said no to his father in this game, his father pouted but stayed still. David laughed so hard he nearly fell down. He loved telling his dad no. He love it so much that the game got stuck. He must have said no ten times in a row. So Dad, knowing his son well, said Can We Go Elephant? David did not know what that was but he loved elephants so he said yes. Dad moved with David to the orange flower and then made a perfect elephant sound and David joined in. Can we go seal? Dad asked next. Yes, said David. They made seal sounds that could have come from Sea World. And so on. It was highly entertaining and they came up with more sounds than I could have ever imagined. Although the creative families who come here make up many versions of this game, this remains my favorite.

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