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Helping People Without Making Them Helpless: Fun, Functional, and Other “F” Words. Tim Feeney, Ph.D. Project Director New York Neurobehavioral Resource Project Binghamton, NY Clinical Director School and Community Support Services 600 Franklin Street Suite 110
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Making Them Helpless:
Fun, Functional, and Other “F” Words
Tim Feeney, Ph.D.
New York Neurobehavioral Resource Project
School and Community Support Services
600 Franklin Street
Schenectady, New York USA 12305
and I’m not ‘yours’!”
“The smart guys are the guys who learn
from the other guys. Don’t get all caught up
in one thing; everyone believes their thing is
the best thing and they’re usually wrong.
So, shut-up and listen and learn and change.”
In order to be successful
you’ve got to be eclectic; moreover,
we need to learn from other literatures
from other populations
“Models collect dust on shelves.”
Don’t fall in love with a particular approach –
create a framework for intervention (a working theory) that will evolve with experience and evidence
do things that they
just don’t want to do
but the price for doing
so will be high
does not equal
does not equal
The Friday Outing
The really neat,
simulated. . .
Creating stable routines of life that
enable me to do what I need to do
when I need to do it.
they don’t want to do so they
can become the players that
they want to be.”
- Walt Harris
“We’re all coaches”
A good coach:
• Alters his/her coaching to
reflect the needs of the player
and conditions of the context.
• Never tries to play the game
him or herself.
it’s half full!
You can teach 1/2 empty
people to become 1/2 full people
(it’s hard to teach 1/2 empties to
become 1/2 fulls)
Human beings are a collection of
relatively independent structures,
processes, and systems
John is the totality of his behaviors and
the systematic relationships among them
b1b3b12b4 b1 b7 b62b17 b17 b17b4 b6 b9b17b12 b3b8 b8 b5 b6b17
Pursuing personally meaningful goals
While participating in culturally
In social, cultural, and historical
Mediated as necessary by individuals
with greater expertise in that domain
Using cultural tools, such as
language, category schemes,
mathematics, organizational supports,
In the presence of varied
context facilitators and barriers
Sarah will successfully complete ___meaningful task,with ___supports, possibly using ___“tools/strategies”,in ___ context (setting, people, activities), in order to achieve ___goal.
Possibly focusing intervention attention on some specific aspects of cognition, communication, social skills, behavioral self-regulation, or educational/vocational skills – aspects that are either particularly weak or particularly important for Sarah.
Delivering material in small increments and requiring responses at a rate consistent with the individual’s processing speed increases the acquisition of new materials.
Strategy:Errorless learning and high rates of success in interactions
Acquisition and retention of new information tends to increase with high rates of success (and error frequency increases with frequent errors and error correction).
Characteristic:Organizational Impairment and Inefficient Learning
Strategy:Task analysis of activities and advance organizational support
Careful organization of learning and tasks including systematic sequencing of intervention targets and advanced organizational supports increases success.
Characteristic:Inefficient Learning and Inconsistency in Performance
Strategy:Massed practice and review including frequent cumulative review
Acquisition and retention of new information and consolidation of old information in memory is increased with frequent, routine-based review.
Characteristic:Inefficient Feedback Loops and Implicit Learning of Errors
Strategy:Errorless learning combined with corrective (and brief) feedback when errors occur.
Many individuals with severe memory and learning problems benefit from errorless learning. When errors occur, learning is enhanced when those errors are followed by non-judgmental corrective feedback.
Characteristic:Frequent Failure of Transfer/Concrete Thinking and Learning
Strategy:Facilitation of transfer, generalization, and maintenance via contextual teaching.
Generalization is more likely when skills are taught in the context in which they will be used (context is encoded with information). In addition, using a general case approach (wide range of examples and settings) increases generalization.
Characteristic:Unpredictable Recovery, Unusual Profiles, and Inconsistency in Behavior
Strategy:Ongoing assessment and flexibility in curricular modification.
Adjustment of interaction based on ongoing assessment of the individual’s progress facilitates learning and allows for curricular modifications “on the fly”.
Characteristic:Impaired Strategic Behavior/ Impaired Organizational Functioning
Organized intervention designed to facilitate a strategic approach to difficult tasks, including organizational strategies.
Characteristic:Decreased Self-Awareness/ Denial of Deficits
Facilitation of individual’s understanding of his/her role in learning
Strategy:Positive behavior supports
Using an approach to behavior intervention that focuses primarily on the antecedents of behavior in the broadest sense (including setting events and establishing operations), environmental management, and role improvement.
Therapeutic: Serving to sure or heal
Fun: Lively, joyous, playful
Do you ever ask yourself:
“Where is the fun?”
“Are we having fun yet?”
Worrying about being politically correct
Going to “therapy”
Doing a workbook activity
Working on fricatives in the speech closet
some fricking test before I can get out of
this fricking place
nosed twenty-something who hasn’t lived life
like I have
you really like
Accomplishing something meaningful
with and create opportunities
for fun and to laugh a lot
even in the face of
“Suffers from . . .”
“Victim of . . .”
“The patient . . .”
“You gotta . . .”
“We tried that before, it’ll never work”
“Because I’m the expert”
“This is my area, don’t mess with me!”
“Yeah, we can do that.”
“That looks interesting, different than I thought
but it’s worth a try.”
“Geez, that’s a good idea, let’s give it a shot.”
“Some things I can’t change.”
“Well, I don’t know what might happen . . .”
“What’s the worst that could happen?”
“What’s the benefit?”
“Sometimes it’s easier to ask for forgiveness
than for permission”
“Hey, we’re onto something here!”
“Let’s give it a shot.”
“Sure, we can do that.”
“I don’t think I could think like that.”
“I couldn’t ever.”
(adj.) 1 like, characteristic of, or suitable for a friend, friends, or friendship; kindly 2 not hostile; amicable 3 supporting; helping; favorable
(n.) 1 a mutual sharing, as of experience, activity, interest, etc. 2 a group of people with the same interests; company; brotherhood
(adj.) 1 occurring often; happening repeatedly at brief intervals 2 constant; habitual.
(adj.) marked by or showing a strong sense of duty or responsibility
(v.) to be moved by or very sensitive to
(adj.) just and honest
(adj.) very good; wonderful
(adj.) seemingly impossible; incredible
(n.) 1 a lack of understanding, sense, or rational conduct; foolishness 2 any foolish action or belief 3 any foolish and useless but expensive undertaking.
(adj.) bold or daring in a foolish way; rash; reckless
(n.) a complete failure.
(v.) to be deficient or negligent in an obligation or duty
(adj.) of or consisting of feces
• Hope is an essential part of
any successful plan of support.
• Form follows function. Think
about what the individual needs
and then create a way for that
to happen in a flexible manner.
• The more you try to force something
or someone to change, the more
it (or he or she) changes you.
• When all else fails, a sense of joy
and a sense of humor can get you
through a whole lot!
(adj.) 1 ended; concluded 2 completed 3 highly skilled or polished; perfected; accomplished 4 given a certain kind of finish or surface, as of paint, wax, etc. 5 defeated, ruined, dying, etc. 6 no longer dealing with or concerned with.