Mafe Maria: Personal stories by autism parent mentor, Maria Stultz

Aaron in the house!

We just got back from a rich and fun vacation with family (always expansive for Joaquin), Team Joaquin is officially down to only mama and papa, and to kick-start this new era without volunteers in our child’s life, Aaron DeLand is in the house!

Favorite Moments from Day 1

Complex Imitation

On the second day, Aaron focused on giving Joaquin lots of opportunities to practice complex imitation (i.e. imitating a series of actions as opposed to a single one). Kiki spontaneously and consistently imitates single actions, so we wanted to find his edge when presented with a sequence of them. The film making motivation and game gives us a great opportunity to model and invite him to do several takes as we give him feedback and slow him down to perceive and practice more detail.

Space Yoga—Beautiful Imitation

I don’t think that Joaquin is very motivated to do yoga (I may be wrong), but on their third day together, Aaron packaged yoga moves as their “space training”, a very important part of their game agenda today. It was lovely to see Kiki following Aaron’s movements so well, so attentive… I thought of Christy, of course.

The Final Gem

I love you!, Joaquin blurts out to Aaron as he leaves our house to head back home. Sweet little boy! And thank you Aaron for three days of laughs and play.

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