Monday, June 15, 2009

My notes from Dr MacDonald's presentation

Communicating Partners' Dr Jim (Dr James D MacDonald) presented to a group of local parents and professionals this week, and of course, I went.

We're an RDI(r) family and I discovered Dr Jim's and CP recently. Dr Jim teaches parents about how to be communicating partners with their children, a developmental approach that shares many similarities w/ RDI(r) and Dr Jim chats with parents on a yahoo group called "communicating" in a way that is similar to the way RDI(r)'s Dr Gutstein used to connect with parents on the internet.

I very much enjoy the way Dr Jim words concepts for parents. I'm not new to a developmental approach. I know this stuff. Sometimes he sounds so much like Dr Gutstein, and Dr Jim's choice of words teaches me even deeper insights about the stuff I know. Sometimes Dr Jim's description of a concept is just enough "same but different" that I see that old concept in a really fresh, new way. He stretches me and grows me.

Rather than type all of my notes, I thought I'd try to "cheat" and scan them. If you double click on the photo, you should be able to see the entire first page of notes I scribbled during his presentation (or you can simply read the highlights, because, yes, I'm going to type them):

Highlights: MAKE YOURSELF "POSSIBLE" FOR YOUR CHILD. Too much of what we do makes ourselves "impossible" for them. Children w/ communication delays need lots of interaction with people who are "possible" for them.

Major Problems: We adults are too much, too soon, too adult when we interact with the child, and we give the child too little time to process, respond an initiate.

Slow down to the child's pace. Wait more. Make yourself "possible". Only do as much as the child does. DO NOT FILL THE SPACE THAT HE NEEDS TO LEARN IN.

Developmental age is more important than chronological age.

Communicate, not perform.

Your child is going to learn to communicate with you. Or NOT. It's up to you.

Focus on the positive things and the negative things will go away. Don't talk to nasty behavior. We tend to end up paying attention to the behavior we don't want and ignoring the behavior that we want.

CP is a developmental series that follows a developmental map, the ARM, based on 30 years of clinical research.

DON'T ASK THE CHILD QUESTIONS! WE ASK OUR CHILDREN WAY TOO MANY QUESTIONS!

PRETEND HE IS A HUMAN BEING AND NOT A DIAGNOSIS!

Conversations are for CONNECTIONS, not for information. Conversations don't have to make sense! Experiment w/ sounds as conversation.

He talked about autism as a myth, like the tooth fairy, and he says that the majority (80% or more) of professionals BELIEVE IN AUTISM, and don't believe these kids need more processing time and interaction at a non-verbal level. ***I love that idea -- let's all say we don't believe in autism! ;) ***

The rest of my notes are mostly statements Dr Jim made. Page two of my notes begins with the statement: "So much of bad behavior is taking the wrong turn."

"The more YOU do, the less your child can do." (stop doing so much!)

STIMMING = "safe smoking" Dr Jim showed video footage of him working with a young boy who was quite a stimmer, and Dr Jim ignored the stimming and began to interact with the boy, tossing a pillow back and forth. Dr Jim said that smokers can communicate while they are smoking a cigarrette, and smoking is a stim, so don't try to stop the kids from stimming.

"Be responsive to your child as if he were communicating to you"

"Imitate spontaneous behavior. If he scratches his head, you scratch your head."

"Respond to your child's sounds and words, and THEN WAIT"

"SHOW HIM LANGUAGE. NOT TEST HIS LANGUAGE!"

"Don't do more than the child does. If you'll follow that rule, he will do more!"

Matching - interests as well as abilities

"The more you enjoy your child, the more he will learn from you."

"Do the unexpected - don't be boring."

Dr Jim says that the statement 'If a child isn't talking by the age of five or six he'll never talk,' is NONSENSE

And, referring to non-verbal, pre-speech foundations of communication, Dr Jim said, "MOST THERAPISTS AND TEACHERS ARE TAUGHT AT THE WORD LEVEL. WE NEED TO LEARN AND GROW WHAT HAPPENS BEFORE THE WORD LEVEL!"

4 comments:

Chef Penny said...

Excellent notes, Penny! May I put a link to them on my blog? Very good info! You are a good note taker!

Penny said...

Chef Penny: LINK AWAY! I'd be honored!

from UN-Chef Penny

Niffercoo said...

Penny, I got a first-hand view of this concept this morning: "The more YOU do, the less your child can do." (stop doing so much!).

Today was Riley's 2nd day of drama camp. Yesterday I had shown her how to pack her lunch - since she is homeschooled and has never had an actual lunch box before! This morning, she packed her own lunch all by herself while I was in the shower. She's 10 (well, you know that part! LOL).

The week before last, Austin had tech camp. And I packed his lunch. Every day. He's 13! (You know that part, too! LOL) I should have left the lunch-packing to him. He could have done it. I just jumped in and did it for him.

I'm trying to convince myself that it's my own lack of experience with packing lunches that caused me to blunder! ;)

Love your notes, by the way! Thanks for sharing!

Jennifer said...

Great information, Penny, thanks for sharing this.

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