Thursday 27 January 2011

Cleaning the cooker

I am still working on the same objective here as the ‘Mushroom Ketchup’ – I am supporting Philip to ‘check in’ with me to make sure his actions match mine.  This is a key step in developing relational responsibility and one that features high on an employer’s list – the ability to work well as part of a team.  You can’t do that if you are oblivious to the actions and intentions of your team mates.

Philip is discovering that to be a competent apprentice, he needs to keep checking in with me to compare his actions with mine. 

Typically developing children will master this competency at around 3-4 years.

0.19    Philip rushes ahead

0.20    I gesture to him to wait

0.26    I gesture for him to watch me

0.28 He is still determined to go for it but references me and I look uncertain

0.33 He repairs his mistake and references me

0.37    I model lifting the metal bit off (what do you call that part of a cooker??)

0.58     He has been busy looking at the hob but realises he’s not with me and stops to check in

1.03    P dashes ahead, not checking in

1.06    I say ‘nuh uh’ and he checks in

1.12    He repairs his mistake by putting the covers back on the jets

1.23    I model what I want us to do, slowing the pace down

1.26    He copies me and then references me to check in

1.34     He starts to clean the jet cover and references me to check if this is the correct action

I swap us round so that the camera picks up his face better

1.52    I tap P and clear my throat to get his attention.  He refs me

1.59    P refs me to check in after he’s put the jet cover in his bowl

2.04    He is ploughing ahead again!  I clear my throat to get his attention

2.12    H e refs me in response to my waiting and communicative noise ‘uh!’

The dishwasher gurgles!!  It didn’t intrude at all as we were cleaning the cooker but now it sounds monstrously loud  L

2.17    He stops what he’s doing and references.  I give a gesture of approval.

2.51      He references me finally after getting absorbed (forgive the pun) in squeezing the sponge

2.57    He ‘ghosts’ getting the washing up liquid!

3.17      He references again, smells the sponge and shares his reaction to the smell – ‘stinky’

I didn’t catch this at the time – that would have been a really good moment for me to compare and contrast my reaction to the smell of the sponge.  Smell is a powerful tool for helping embed episodic memory.

3.25     P has come over to my side of the cooker with his sponge.  He references me and shares a joke about it, smiling playfully

3.43 He crosses to my side again and refs me to share the joke – now I am getting concerned that his focus on being playful will distract from our interaction so

3.46    I say ‘uh oh’ and out down my sponge

3.49    He references me and I gesture that there’s a problem

3.53        He does a small facial expression plus an incline of the head and a short communicative noise (fantastic non-verbal communication ) – I think he is encouraging me here to get back on task

3.57    I model that I am just cleaning the lower square.  He doesn’t catch on, so I say ‘nnnnnnn’

3.58    I model the lower square again

4.04    He goes in the top square and references me

4.05    I point to my top square and shake my head

4.10    He’s not getting the point, so I have to scaffold with language

4.16    He checks in again following my ‘uh oh’.  I repeat and he follows this time

4.35    He references to see what I am doing

4.39    I put the sponge in the bowl and he copies

4.46    He references again in response to my ‘uh oh’

5.01     He references to see what I am doing.  I wait and he adjusts his position so he can see me better.

In this clip, I am still providing quite a lot of scaffolding with my prosody (communicative noises), gesture and facial expression to let him know when he needs to repair a mistake.  What I am working towards is for Philip to take responsibility without me scaffolding, so that our joint actions are fluid and synchronised. 

See those bits of paper on the cupboard doors behind us?  They are all RDI reminders.  Nowadays they are mainly in the kitchen as this is my ‘RDI hub’ but at one time we had them all over the house – bathroom, living room, bedrooms.  And that reminds me of something funny. 

A couple of years ago, Philip and I had been doing some filming in the main bedroom, and the plumber came round the following day to fix the en suite shower. Well, he walked into the bedroom and took one look at the camera on its tripod at the end of the bed, then looked at me - it was one of those times when you want a big hole to open up and swallow you……….



  1. Hi Zoe
    This was so interesting to watch. I was impressed with how slow you both were (I aim for me and super speedy Nick to be like this one day!!!). Great blog! Di x

    PS: Too funny about the plumber!

  2. Hi Zoe, thanks again for sharing. Like Di, I am impressed by the steady pace and even more impressed by P's tolerance and motivation to continue hanging in there with you. From your earlier posts, I'm sure this was not always the case!

    It might be a dumb question but are these clips all recent ones?

  3. Hi Brendan

    Philip has a tendency to want to whizz off at a faster pace when doing a joint activity and it sometimes feels like I am on a knife edge - caught between the need to pace things slowly so that I can make sure I hit all the RDI objectives and wanting to make sure the activity is interesting enough to hold his attention and motivation.

    Yes these are all recent clips - and I wish I'd saved footage from earlier objectives but it got to a point where I needed to have a purge or risk clogging up the computer.

    You are right that Philip wasn't always motivated to take part in joint activities and he certainly never used to be as tolerant as he is now. I think this is partly to do with the trust that has built up between us, as well as a really robust emotional connection, through RDI. Also, it's like Ross Greene says - "Kids do well if they can". Previously, Philip didnt do as well but that wasnt because he didnt want to, it was because he couldnt - he was restricted by his impairments in social communication and relatedness. Now we have addressed some of those impairments (to some degree - we are only at stage 3 of RDI here) he is more able to participate.