Framing and scaffolding
Relationship Development Intervention (RDI) often uses the terms framing and scaffolding when discussing how to remediate the core deficits of ASD. When I was at the RDI conference last weekend Dr. Gutstein gave a presentation of the future of RDI (new program developments). During his presentation he talked about framing and scaffodling in this way:
Framing is what we do to create a joint attention system. One of the deficits that affects EVERYONE on the spectrum is the inability to focus and think about a shared object or process. The child/teen with ASD is generally unable and unwilling to join theiri attention with the attention of their parent/caregiver/guide.
How many times have you tried to engage your child/teen in a project or task or discussion, only to have your invitation rejected in part or whole? In order to help support shared attention, RDI thinks in terms of framing -- which means the way in which we establish the boundaries and roles of an actvitiy with the goal of sharing attention.
Think about your house as a framework (a frame for sharing attention). Is the way your house is set up conducive to sharing attention? Is your house filled with objects that create constant competition for attention? Books, games, trains, Lego, DVDs, video game systems? If so, you will be on the losing end of a fight for your child/teens shared attenton.
So, the punchline here is you have to think of your house as a framework and thus you will need to modify your home to frame for shared attention by reducing or eliminating objects and actvities that interfere with sharing attention. Yep, get rid of all of the those Lego sets, Harry Potter books, etc. Create a clean and calm frame within your home.
The term scaffolding refers to what you do to create a thinking challenge within the framework -- how you support your child/teen in taking on a challenge of resolving uncertainty. At the beginning of a challenge you might provide moment to moment support/scaffolding -- literally going hand over hand to help your child/teen achieve the objective of resolving uncertainty. So, scaffolding is the degree to which you provide support to facilitate moments of PRODUCTIVE uncertainty -- such as cooking a particular meal or engaging in a craft activity or washing the car. Moments of productive uncertainty can be inserted into almost any actviity -- as it is th creation of thinking challenge that matters (not the activity).
Framing=a sharded attentioin system
Scaffolding= the degree to which you offer support for resolving a thinking challenge within the framewor.
The next blog will focus on "productive uncertainty."
In the mean time -- start clearing out those object that create obstacles to shared attention!