Monday, 20 August 2012

Outreach Notes on Imaan Mutum by Jack Goodall

Outreach Notes on Imaan Mutum

It has been over a year since I worked with Imaan, and it is so delightful to see the ways in
which he has changed in that time, and the ways in which he is still so responsive to The
Son-Rise Program and being in his playroom.  At the time of the outreach, Imaan had
been having more time outside the playroom, as most of his volunteers had left over the
summer.  His language had increased in clarity, spontaneity and sentence length and I
also observed that, around the house, his eye contact had dropped since last time I
worked with him.  Over the course of the three days I focused on helping Imaan be solidly
connected in interactions, with a strong focus on his eye contact.  He really responded to
this, and his eye contact increased over the three days.  He also seemed to relish being
back in his playroom and never once whined around wanting the door open!  In fact, there
were no episodes of whining at all!  Wow!

Eye Contact (goal - looking at start/continue an interaction S1; looking to get needs met 
This was the biggest area of challenge that I observed with Imaan.  His language is
coming so fluently and easily to him now, and he so trusts that we are going to get him
what he requests, that often times he does not look at us when requesting items or
activities.  I found the following techniques very helpful:
1. Distance and anticipation - Imaan would often sustain great eye contact if I would
slowly creep towards him across the playroom.
2. Pointing to my eyes and making them interesting for Imaan to look at.
3. Helping Imaan to look at me while he is lying down (this seems easier for him).
4. Indirectly requesting eye contact (e.g. gesturing excitedly to my eyes without verbally
asking Imaan to look).
5. HUGE celebrations with BIG 3Es.

Imaanʼs language is coming on really nicely.  Itʼs great to hear him commenting on things
he sees (e.g. looking out of the window and telling me “Clouds, raining, storm!”) and he is
often using much longer sentences than I have previously heard (e.g. “I want spin your
back, round and round and round!”).  He is still leaving out prepositions in sentences, but I
decided not to focus on requesting language from him on this outreach.  He is very
accustomed to us requesting “I want...” sentences from him, so I feel it is useful and fun for
him that we focus on different aspects of language (see Flexibility).  It is still highly
important to listen closely to everything that Imaan says, to try to avoid talking over him
and to celebrate everything he says (and especially big celebrations for his sentences).

Attention Span (Goal - interacting in simple imaginative play):
Imaanʼs interactive attention span is really picking up!  His average was 6-7 minutes over
the 3 days, with a longest interaction of 35 minutes.  His frequency had also increased,
with an average of 5 interactions / hour.  It is, of course, still highly important that we join
him deeply every time he is exclusive for longer than 30 seconds.  I noticed that he really
responded to the level of enthusiasm with which I joined him - really giving the activity
meaning for myself and enjoying it.  Key techniques to help him lengthen his AS are:

1. Work on connection before ANYTHING!  Give Imaan a LOT for free in the game before
doing any requesting.
2. Give Imaan a lot of control in the game - if he changes what he wants (e.g. he asks for
a spin and then wants to sing) then go with that easily - be flexible!3. Call Imaan back to the game when he is highly motivated.
4. Be excited for your game and BELIEVE that Imaan is going to want to play it!
5. CELEBRATE Imaan for playing your game.
6. Use imagination to keep the game dynamic and interesting for Imaan.

Flexibility (Goal: verbal participation S2):
I decided to use a flexibility goal to help Imaan expand on what he is willing to say within
an interaction.  Frequently he will use the “I want...” sentence structure and I want to help
him expand into a more fluent, flexible way of communicating in the game.  To this end, I
have been playing with giving him different verbal roles in the game (such as making
sound effects or casting a spell).  Key techniques:
1. Still celebrate all of Imaanʼs language (e.g. when he uses an “I want...” sentence
instead of the sentence I have requested) and stick playfully to your request.
2. Do not request until Imaan is highly connected and motivated (work on EC first if you
need to).
3. Drop the request if Imaanʼs EC drops and get him looking at you again before going
back to your request.
4. Be playfully persistent - it may take Imaan a bit of time to get used to this new way of

Button Pushing:
Imaan did a little button pushing to see whether I would react (weeing on the floor, kicking
the door, throwing balls at the camera).  He is super responsive to me being very
disinterested and just getting on with what Iʼm doing.  The more comfortable I am, the
easier it is for Imaan to drop what he is doing, as he gets no reaction from me.
Remember, wee is just wee - itʼs no big deal!

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