On December 13, 2018, almost three-year-old Nikko and his mother Alma visited Children’s Village. Nikko has autism and was attending his Applied Behavior Analysis class (ABA). When they walked through the door of the classroom, they were warmly greeted by behavior technicians Kaecey Lockridge and Omar Luna.
Throughout class time, Kaecey and Omar helped Nikko practice making eye contact and articulate words. Nikko practiced the former by rolling a ball to Kaecey while
looking her in the eye. As for the latter, Omar and Kaecey praised Nikko just as much for effort as for success. Sometimes Nikko would articulate words well, but other times it was difficult. Omar would say phrases such as “Good try” or “Love the effort”. During snack time, Nikko stood at the refrigerator and Omar and Kaecey made him “work” for his snack, as Alma explained, by having him articulate what he wanted, instead of just yelling and having them guess.
Alma observed that Nikko’s social skills, such as sharing, taking turns, and asking for help, had improved within the past six months. Nikko took turns building stack towers with Kaecey, being able to articulate the phrase “my turn”. At one point, he got excited and threw his tower down on the ground. He was about to say and sign “help please” to Omar.
This experience demonstrates an awesome teaching style in the Children’s Village staff. They praise effort just as much as success. They realize that children are not going to get it right on the first go, but the staff are patient and encouraging all the way through. This practice makes the children feel that they are capable of improving and succeeding at what they are trying to accomplish.