When Erika was diagnosed with Autism at age two, one of the first pieces of advice that we got from the psychologist was that we had to meet her where she was at, and involve ourselves in the things she loved to do. This would allow us to enter into "her world," where we would stand a chance of engaging her. Engaging with her would be the key to expanding her world beyond her comfort zone, we were told. A relationship built on play, comfort and trust would go a long way. We found this advice wrapped in many different packages (notably the Floortime principles of Dr. Stanley Greenspan and the foundational principles of Dr. Richard Solomon's P.L.A.Y. Project).
Seven years later, these principles still hold true. By carefully considering her motivators and strengths as well as her demotivators and weaknesses, we can devise meaningful and effective strategies to engage her, motivate her, and help her learn.
Erika's "favorite things" include Sesame Street© characters, the color red, balloons, rubber duckies, using the computer/ iPad©, swimming, assembling puzzles, playing with Legos©, and filling in negative spaces (small bead grids, "drawing" on the iPad©, etc.).