I recently watched a webinar on the RDI OS about transferring responsibility. The title of it is Training a Captain not a deck mate. So far, I have only watched the first part of three but it is such a great webinar that I thought that I would share what I’ve learned. I highly recommend you watch it if you are on the OS.
The premise of this idea is to train a captain. Captains are trained to think and to make executive decisions. Captains aren’t told what to do in every situation. They are trained to look at a problem or situation, assess it , then make a decision on what to do. They are trained to think, plain and simple. A deck mate on the other hand is told what to do and when to do it. A deck hand doesn’t have to think. He is always told what to do and exactly how to do it. I don’t know about you but I want a captain not a deck mate.
Children with autism are more comfortable being a deck mate. It is easier for them to be told what to do and how to do it. They have to be taught how to think. They really don’t know how to look at a situation, assess it and fix what’s wrong. Children with autism don’t even realize that other people can be the guide and teach them things (master/apprentice relationship).
With Logan, we started at the beginning. We spent ti me on the master/apprentice relationship. We worked on him referencing (looking) us. We worked on him feeling competent. In the end, we worked on him wanting to be with us more than in his own little world.
Now we need to train the captain in him (why do I think of the Captain Morgan commercial when I say that? lol ). We need to take the next step and teach him how to think. So, we have to slow down more. We have to let him see the situation himself. This is hard for me to not point it out to him. I must stop over compensating for him and quit worrying that he will fail or embarrass himself. I simply must let him do it. You can tell when he begins to feel incompetent. I must watch him for the signs and scaffold as necessary but not too much. Easier said than done.
My goals for the next 2 weeks :
1. Look for times when it would be ok to let Logan figure it out. Clearly, there will be times when a decision must be made quickly but there are tons of times when he could do it.
2. Model decision making for him. Show him how I make decisions and point out when others do it as well.
3. Spotlight when he does it well with a smile or a pat on the back. Make it non verbal ( Michael and Donna will tell you that I talk way too much 🙂 )
4.Get it videotaped this week, then watch it and post it with feedback.