I have a 29 month year old client who has recently been crying for the majority of his session. I am not going to get specific, but today we shared a peaceful moment of quiet and companion -- over a balloon.
In this field, at times we tend to over-complicate things. We look for iPads and toys that light-up, whirl, and speak. However, the truth of the matter, is that modified Occam's Razor can often prevail. That is to say, the simplest intervention is often the best intervention. An iPad may be terrible for a child who would prevail with PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System) for an AAC (augmentative and alternative communication) intervention. And in my case, a balloon was the game changer, not the obnoxious light up toy.
Especially with our early learners, we need to meet them where they're at, while at the same time setting our expectations high. Even if a learner is delayed by many years, we should set goals that are developmental age appropriate, while being actual age respectful.
A balloon saved my rapport and instructional control with this learner. Not an epiphany, but remarkable nonetheless.