The mother of Luke, a three year old boy with developmental delays, shares her perspective a few months later after he has enrolled in a childcare program. She discusses her feelings about using embedded interventions both at home and in the program (running time: 2 min. 32 sec.).
I know how hard it can be. At home, it was difficult day in and day out, using hand-over-hand assistance to show my son how to communicate with me. Over and over, I would help him make the sign for “more,” or take his hand and push the big button of a voice output device to make an animal sound, with the hopes that one day, someday he would talk back on his own. My son has a rare chromosomal abnormality. No other cases like his are known. So no doctor can say what he will or won’t be able to do. But isn’t that true for all children? We are all different. So I went on blind faith, and one day my son did sign back to me. One day he asked for “more” and more is what I gave him. We kept working, every day, using embedding interventions all throughout the day, and now my son speaks to me in 3- or 4-word sentences. Sure he doesn’t use his voice, but I understand him nonetheless.
I sometimes think that my son’s easy-going laid-back attitude does him a disservice. If my son can’t reach out to someone, or has trouble engaging them, he doesn’t get upset or frustrated. He’s content to turn and play in solitude. He’s quiet, non-disruptive, and ideal for a teacher, I would think. But if the teachers just practiced with him, every day, even if only a little, to use his talking device, or use signs with him, he would learn that he could reach out to them and become part of the classroom community. And from there, who knows where it could lead? I would love to see my son attempt to talk to a classmate. To my knowledge, he has never once attempted to say anything to another child. His teachers are in the unique position to embed peer support activities into his daily routines and encourage that interaction.
My husband and I differ on our views about embedded interventions. He’s not as concerned as I am that Luke work towards these goals, and thinks that as long as Luke is loved and happy, he will gain these skills naturally. But one thing we both agree on is that the sky is the limit for Luke. We have seen our son come so far, and we know that his only limits are those we put on him. I want Jackie and the rest of the staff to learn from our experience and help us all continue to grow.