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Infant Toddler Development Training
Module 4, Lesson 2

Activity #1
Supporting Josh's Social Interactions

Go to Autism E-Pack #2 to investigate a case study of a toddler with autism. You should read this material with an eye toward determining appropriate social intervention strategies

Read the following sections:

  • About the Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Parenting a Child with Autism
  • From Diagnosis to Intervention
  • Case Study 2 - Josh

Overview of Josh
Father putting on child's coatThis case history involves an interdisciplinary evaluation of a 20-month-old boy known as Josh. Josh was referred to the interdisciplinary team by his primary physician due to parental concerns regarding Josh's ability to communicate and difficulty gaining his attention. Josh was not receiving intervention services at the time of assessment. His parents noted a great deal of variability in Josh's ability to use gestures and words and to respond to others. At 18 months of age, Josh was sent for an audiology evaluation due to his difficulty responding to others, and results indicated his hearing was within normal limits. Josh's physician and family requested an evaluation at this time to assess Josh's development and to obtain a thorough medical evaluation to examine the possible biological basis for Josh's presenting concerns.

In a telephone conversation, Josh's mother reported that her son was the fourth child in his family. His oldest sibling was 12 years old and had autism and mental retardation. Josh's parents were very knowledgeable regarding autism and involved in their older son's intervention programs. Josh's mother said she was watching her younger children's early development carefully because of concerns about having another child with autism. She stated that Josh was able to engage in many age-appropriate activities; at times, he used words and gestures, responded to his name, and pointed. However, she observed Josh had some autistic-like characteristics, such as becoming overly focused on tasks, being non-responsive to others' attempts to get his attention, and tending toward solitary activities. She also believed Josh had sensitivities to sound and tactile stimulation, but he ate a variety of foods. Overall, his mother requested information for helping Josh develop language skills and for managing his tantrums.

Consider the outcomes of Josh's assessments and family context presented in the rest of the case. If you were Josh's family, what everyday routines, activities, and places (can be at home or in the community, i.e. park) might you choose to support Josh's social skills? Consider at least 3 places/situations.


Activity #2
Coaching Josh's Family

Let's assume you are the ITDS. Your role is to coach Josh's family in ways they can work and play with Josh during these routines to help him develop some social skills over the next two weeks until you return for your next planned visit. Using what you have learned, fill in these areas as you would do with the family to help the coaching process:

  1. Purpose of Coaching (one sentence)
  2. Outcomes of Coaching (2 – 3 sentences of what you want to see Josh doing)
  3. Key Partners (who will play/work/guide Josh at various times)
  4. Child Interests (what does Josh like to do, very motivating)
  5. Family Interests for Mom, Dad, Grandpa, Aunt and siblings
  6. Activity Settings (at home or community or in the car, etc.)

From Hanft, B.E., Rush, D.D., Shelden, M.L. (2004). Coaching families and colleagues in early childhood. Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes.


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