Sunday, September 14, 2008

Using a Funny Sound

Sometimes, something as simple as using a funny sound can make a game work. I recently watched a game that I have started calling: Do it Together. It is a classic Relationship Development Intervention Game. It was also exactly the kind of play that Dr. Greenspan describes in his Floortime literature. Whatever you call the intervention style, the key element was the sound she made.

In this game, a mother and her son were putting items into a container together at the same time. This was a simple repeated activity. It was relatively easy for her child to see that this was the structure of the game which is another trick to making games work. Still, there was no obvious reason for this little boy to get up from what he was doing, walk across the room and do this activity with his mom. But he did because his mother added something that interested him even more than the dropping activity. She made a funny sound each time she dropped an item in the bucket. She could have made her son come over and do what she did—but she tried instead to get her son to come to her willingly and join her because he wanted to do so. This was an important element because every time he comes to her of his own freewill and it goes well, he is more apt to independently join her again--which is an important goal in itself.

I think of the funny sound strategy as The Hook. The interesting sound enticed him to come over and imitate her. She was watching him carefully and noticing what interested him. As soon as she started using a single sound rather than various sounds, her little guy started referencing her face. He looked at her whenever he expected her to make that sound again. Now the game was socially predictable. Her son was hooked into the play and hooked into her role in the play. She was able then to work on the game objective, which was to help him learn to coordinate movement with her. She varied the timing and helped him learn to watch for and vary his own timing to match hers. Absolutely cool game!


S- said...

Okay, I think this is something that would interest one of the kids I'm going to start working with this week.

Tahirih said...

Thank you for sending me feedback. I is much more rewarding to write these games up when I know someone is using the.