Video 1.14: Routine in a program – expanded block play


Austin first uses a communication board posted on the wall to decide what he wants to build. Then his therapist introduces a template to assist in the building process. Later, a peer is enlisted as a helper to create a door for his garage. In just 5 minutes, 3 different embedded interventions were used to help Austin successfully participate in this activity (running time: 3 min. 08 sec.).


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This video shows an occupational therapist working with a boy with autism in a preschool classroom.  The child uses a communication board posted on the wall to make a choice and the therapist provides a template for building a structure. Then, a peer is enlisted to help in the building process.

Occupational Therapist:

What should we get? We’ll go with the blocks. Get some blocks and build a what? Do you want to build a barn? A house?

For this child, the team (which consisted of his teachers, and parents, and therapists) had really noticed that he was having a hard time participating in constructive building kinds of play in the classroom, and a lot of his classmates were really into that kind of thing. So, we decided that we really should do some kind of intervention for this.

Since we were already using visual supports to give him some options for activities, I thought maybe also offering him some visual supports for the actual building process would be helpful.


What about this?

Occupational Therapist:

I think you’re exactly right. Alright, can you put them on here? Put them right on top of there. There you go.

At one of the team meetings, we actually talked through my idea of just making him some little maps that would facilitate his building. So the teacher and I had talked about this and agreed that maybe this was a good idea to try. So, I went ahead and made the map of things that he already had choices for on his visual supports for actually choosing something to build.

And I was trying to be congruent with that. So, then the next thing I wanted to do was actually go ahead and take that into the classroom and try it with him and let the teacher observe a little bit if she could just so that we could then evaluate whether this was an intervention that was really going to be helpful to him or not and if we needed to adapt it.

Now we need something for the front door. The front door. What do you think? Alright.

One of the nice things about being able to go into the classroom was that this was already an activity that a lot of the kids were doing and was one of their activity centers. So, it was a great time for him to integrate using the visual supports with making a choice about what to build and then also using the map as a visual support to actually do the building.

And the other kids were also very into this and wanted to be helpful and build with us. So, it was just a nice activity that was completely integrated into an activity that was already going on in the classroom.

You have an idea? Ok. Austin. Austin. Are you going to get your car out?



Occupational Therapist:

Oh. Very cool. He found you a real garage door.

He did really well with this. It’s an intervention strategy that we decided was really helpful so I made some additional maps also. And they were able to continue using them in the classroom whenever this child was in this area. Right after this session where I was trying it out, I did get to talk with the teacher a little bit more and just reinforce both of our impressions that this was helpful to him. And I would just leave those maps in the classroom. And actually, I ended up…