These past couple weeks I have been focusing on going into Josh's school and trying to make PECS as functional for him as possible, showing carers how to use it etc, so I didn't get to do as much imitation practice as I would have liked. However yesterday's session made up for it all. He was so amazing and really exceeded my expectations for how the session would run. I really need to stop tearing up whenever my patients accomplish great things or parents might think I'm a softie lol.
I started as usual with his 'warm up' actions (chap hands, touch head etc), again using Tic Tac Tony as a reinforcer. Interestingly he no longer gets enjoyment from flipping the chips off the tail into the slots; he is now fascinated by arranging them in patterns in front of the dog(Tony). I followed his lead with that because all I really need is a good reinforcer.
First sound was /m/. I rubbed my tummy and did a big exaggerated mmmmmmmm. He watched and just rubbed his tummy when it was his turn. I gave him a confused look and held back the reinforcer, then modelled again. This time an even louder MMMMMMMMM. He hesitated, cocked his head to the side like he was thinking about it then gave me this loud, absolutely perfect MMMMMMM. Success! He definitely got his reinforcer for that one. We did that exchange about 3 more times then I moved on. I went really close so he could see my sequencing and went mmmmmmeeeeeeeee, which he imitated like he was doing forever (teary eyes part 1). I did me a couple times then I went on and tried 'my' and 'ma'. 'Ma' he not only produced well, he also carried it on 'mamama.' I tried 'moo', but he definitely had some sequencing difficulty there. He watched me intently as I made it (his eye contact has come such a long way) and took his fingers and tried to squeeze his lips in to make the 'oo' /u:/ sound (bless him). I tried 'more', but he did the sign instead of imitating.
I moved on again a bit later in the session and tried 'bee', this time touching my chin with my fingers and moving them away as I said it (like signing thank you), and guess what! He did it, and said it the same time. I tried 'boo' as well but that also seems to give sequencing difficulty. He was so excited about this sound, even as he was leaving he was saying 'bebebebe'.
I am over the moon with the progress he is making. I recorded some of the session and can't help watching it over an over and smiling.
Our journey continues and I love where it is going :)