Monday, September 22, 2008

Being in two places at the same time.

Billy was a child who was identified as being brain blind. That just means that his eyes worked fine, but his brain wouldn’t tell him what he was seeing. Billy did not walk. He was about 12 years old. We worried about him because he would use his hands to punch himself in the head. The home that he stayed at thought that they had tried everything. They placed his hands into large plastic soda bottle with big holes in them so that he would not hurt himself as much when he punched his own head. We had a meeting with his parents.

Mr. and Mrs. Jones would sometimes take Billy home for weekends. They loved their profoundly retarded son. Mrs. Jones told the team at the meeting that Billy did not have a problem at home. I asked how they stopped him when he started to punch himself. Mrs. Jones said that she simply tells him to stop. I said that they needed to stay at the home so that Billy wouldn’t hurt himself. The rest of the team appeared either amused or angry. I explained that I wanted the parents to create an endless loop audiotape that played their voices telling Billy to not hit himself in the same way that they did at home. We had the tape in less than a week. The cassette tape player went where Billy went. Staff simply played the tape when Billy started to hit himself. It worked and kept on working.

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