Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Enter Sandman, Part II: The ABA Plan

In the past, I've consulted with our ABA guru, Amy, about everything from haircut trauma to breaking an incessant hands-in-the-pants habit.  I'm talking about Audrey now, but I get where you could be confused.   

The game plan almost always consists of the same three basic elements:
1)  Social stories
2)  Reinforcement systems
3)  Video modeling

I've gotten fairly good at writing my own social stories, but there was a lot riding on the whole sleep situation so I left it to the pro.  My social story would have read something like "Stop trying to crawl back up my va-jay-jay and stay in your own damn bed."  Amy's was much nicer and consisted of the usual "I am awesome but nervous to sleep in my own bed and I like to sleep in Mom's bed but I'm a big girl now and Mom is right across the hall and I can handle it because I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!"

As for a reward system, coming up with new ones gets harder and harder.  We lean on reinforcers pretty heavily, so it's easy to blow through them quickly.   I have a locked cellar full of stim toys, photo albums, various bubble makers, scented markers, balloons, musical Christmas snow globes, a couple of stray cats, and Anthony from the Wiggles.  But eventually even the best reinforcers get old and lose their powers.  Sometimes if we're lucky we can cycle back through something that she hasn't seen in a while, which is what we did for our sleep project.  She hadn't seen her Leapster (video gaming) toy for a while, so I trotted it out for just long enough for her to realize that she still liked it and then snatched it away to use as her reward for sleeping in her bed through the night.

Video modeling usually reflects either desired behavior or the undesirable behavior being corrected.  In this case, Amy told me to make a movie of Audrey sleeping in her own bed and then show it to her afterwards.  We've used video modeling to great success in other situations.  This time, I think Audrey was just creeped out. 

The plan entails her falling asleep in her own bed with me staying upstairs with her until she does.  Then to the extent that I am awake when she tries to crawl into bed with me later in the night, I am to escort her back to her own bed.  Lather, rinse, repeat until morning.  The trick was a) waking up every time, b) hauling my tired lardy butt out of bed to bring her back to her own bed, and c) dealing with potential behaviors in the middle of the night.

Sorry to leave you hanging, but this post is getting too long.  Tomorrow:  The Results Show.

I've only woken up looking like this one time,
so I think it's going pretty well.

19 comments:

  1. i hope it will work for both of you. it sucks being always asleep. i am so sleep deprived, that i fall asleep at the therapy waiting room every single afternoon. Sadly I am looking forward to those 4 days a week at least I get some nap.keep us posted

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  2. as you can see i can't even express my self. I meant to say " it sucks being always sleepy" big difference Sorry for the typo!!!!!

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  3. I'm totally with you on the sleep (and wanting everyone to stay the hell out of my bed!) but the picture at the end of the post... oh man. You're killing me. I'm dead.

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  4. Good luck! I'm hoping you didn't have to get up at all with her, and that she loved her bed enough to just pass right out until morning. Okay, well at least not getting up all night long would be a plus! Can't wait for the results. As a side note, I think I would agree with Audrey that watching yourself sleeping is a little creepy!

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  5. I love the picture! Good luck with this. I hope it works out good. If you still have Anthony hanging out in your cellar, you can send him my way before he gets old and stops working!

    Okay, that even creeped me out.

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  6. Please release Anthony from the basement and stop posting pictures of me from my college days.

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  7. my Sam did that with markers-only he drew a clown face on himself..it was too well done..we thought some crazed lunatic had snuck into our house and drew on him in the middle of the night..now after reading your post, I know it was Anthony. Pshew..I am relieved. You never want to let a wiggle anywhere near markers.

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  8. I used to see Super Nanny trailers on TV that showed that exact method. I tuned in one time to see it, and it worked like a charm. Parents looked like death at the end of the night(which is what caught my eye on the trailer) but it worked! The parents said the hardest part was that you couldn't talk during the escorts back to the kids bed.
    I'm sure it will work. They don't call it "reality" TV for nothin!

    Also....we should swap "used' reinforcers. In our locked box we've got tons of strawberry shortcake dolls, my little ponies, a boat-load of ocean animals from safari ltd. and DJ Lance from Yo Gabba Gabba.

    Also.....as of now, my new way to start GA social stories is "I'm awesome but nervous to....."

    Good luck!

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  9. I think I would suck at this plan- i'm just too sleep-deprived to fully wake up....but I'm sure you did great :) Can't wait to hear how it's going!

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  10. I feel your pain, sister!!!!! Love the ole Leapster-Bait-n-Switch trick. I hope it works!

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  11. Billy's pretty good about staying in his bed. Early on, I realized I would never get ANY sleep if he slept in our bed (see also "The Chin") so we did some serious sleep training early on ... and then we did it again a year later ... and then a year later he forgot all that and we did it again ... and the other night he fell asleep in the floor wearing a laundry basket.

    But he wasn't in my bed. Score!

    (Seriously, I do try to get the little guy back into his bed whenever possible.)

    Good luck!

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  12. I love the Stuart Smalley validation in the social story. Whatever works to get you more sleep. I can take just about any form of child-related torture, but sleep deprivation really pushes me beyond all endurance.

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  13. Ironically, I have just returned from a seminar on social stories. Do you remember the days before we knew terms like social stories, theory of mind, reinforcers and video modeling? I didn't think so; that sleep deprivation really does wonders on the short term memory.

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  14. This too shall pass. Of course, it's never fast enough. Bribery will get you everywhere!

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  15. Great informative post Lynn. Can't go wrong with a good ole social story eh?!

    Think we're growing out of them here at Chez Jazzy...where WiiBoy still prefers to sleep in our bed! It's of though as he's nearly 11 so he will grow out of it.

    I wondered before about Social Stories, or their equivalent, for teens on the spectrum??? My next quest Don't worry, just like you, I'll share if I source anything ;-)

    xx Jazzy

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  16. Lynn, as usual, the first few lines got me too hard and my incontinent child destroyed bladder couldn't hold it. I am never sure when to put my Depends on with you.

    And we are on our way, in literally 10 minutes, to meet with our ABA team and repeat steps 1, 2, and 3 above for some new behavior issues. Isn't this fun???

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  17. uuuugh! I feel your pain. We are going through the same thing with W. right now. And every time we start to get ready to hunker down and correct it, he gets sick or I do, something always comes up. I don't think my hubby and I have slept in the same bed together all night without him joining us (and hubby moving to couch) in over 6 months, possibly more. not good. I hear falling asleep in their own bed on their own is key. and the escorting them back to their beds when you are so tired, is so hard. good luck with it all.

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  18. years ago as an above poster said i got this method from super nanny too, but in my case it never worked. Everyone I talked to said it worked for them though but for me, no. I started doing it when my son was 18 months and did it for 3 YEARS STRAIGHT! It never worked but he falls asleep on his own now at almost 7 and usually stays asleep all night. i think it might be a sleep cycle thing not a behaviorial thing in some cases.

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  19. If I had Anthony from the Wiggles hanging out in my basement, I'd be hanging out with him, smoking the good stuff ('cause you know he totally is) and neglecting my needy ass child.

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