Field trips are a great opportunity for social, language, motor, and play skills.
Over spring break we recently took our clients to the local bowling alley. The bowling alley was awesome and accommodated the things our kids needed. From bumpers to the ramp that you put the ball down, the owner was more than helpful to meet the needs of our kiddos. It was a wonderful opportunity for kiddos of all ages. We did two separate bowling groups, based on age
The first group included our younger kiddos. It was awesome to see the work of our ABA technicians and kiddos in a new setting, applying the skills they’ve practiced and learned in therapy. In the beginning of the game, one of the children would not even touch the bowling ball or get up from the seat without crying and yelling. The technician did an awesome job motivating her by getting her a bowling ball in her favorite color. The technician used shaping procedures and reinforcement for touching the ball, then standing up, and even just looking at the alley. About 10 minutes in, the technician got her to go up and push the ball down the ramp. By the end of the game she loved it and did not want to leave.
Another one of our younger clients would cry every time he didn’t get a strike. Well, even with bumpers up, no one‘s going to get a strike every time. Explaining that to him was not an easy task but his technician was able to work through that with him and help him accept not being perfect. The first group just loved watching the balls go down the lane and enjoyed time out with their technician.
Later, the older more verbal clients played together. We were able to use this opportunity to identify deficits that aren’t always apparent in the 1:1 setting. For example, one client attempted to start a conversation with a peer but the peer completely ignored the conversation. The technicians we able to practice this and then apply those conversation skills right then and there. We found several great scenarios to work through in the therapy setting and then we will apply them again soon in the same type of new natural setting. With our older kids in the second group we also worked on money skills. They had a budget for snacks and drinks and they had to independently go up and order what they wanted and pay.
Incidentally we had a situation where the vending machine didn’t work and the client didn’t get the item he had chosen. It was a great opportunity for real world problem solving that never would have happened unless we were in a real world setting. He had a hard time waiting to ask the clerk for help because he wanted his snack right then. In the end, we were able to work through that situation and target the skills to ask for help from a new person in a new situation.
Our bowling field trip was a great success and a learning opportunity not only for our clients but for our technicians as well.
Our clients were able to generalize skills they’ve acquired in the therapy setting and use them in the community setting. Our team members got to know their clients better and see them play, laugh, move, learn, and grow in the natural setting. It was a success and we look forward to more opportunities like this in the future.