Follow the Child- using obsessions as learning tools by Grace Maerz (Learning Coach), Wiesbaden, GER 2021

Student K:

Student K is partially verbal and uses echolalia. Student K practices repetition of various lines used in animated movies and obsessed with the 20TH CENTURY FOX STUDIOS logo. Student K would repeatedly ask for whiteboards and paper to religiously and with great detail draw the logo, always making sounds and singing the accompanying instrumental music.

The coach, using the ‘Follow the Child’ method, joined in the drawings of the logo. After the child accepted the seemingly shared interest in the logo, which was conducted over a period of one week, the coach then started to make small changes.


First, use of ordinals 21st, 22nd, etc.

Then, added a different animal e.g to replace FOX with horses, cats, dogs, etc.

Next, added fun patterns e.g dots, stripes, color, etc.

Finally to personalize the Logo eg. Using the student’s name to create the logo 20TH CENTURY – KLAUS ( fictitious name) -STUDIOS.


At first, the student was confused and simply stared at the coach’s drawings in disbelief for some time. It was surprising to see the logo in a different variation, breaking the mold, so to speak. The change caused the student some visible but mild stress, however, the coach assured the student the drawings were hers and that the student’s original drawings would not be tampered with. 

When the discovery was made and accepted that ordinals could be used, student K repeated the idea up to the number 50 and was so excited about the discovery.

Exchanging FOX with other animals proved to be less stressful as the addition was made after the acceptance of ordinals, which had prepared the student for change(scaffolding). It was received with laughter and requests of various animals.  

The personalized logo was created by arranging a time during the school day for the student, accompanied by the coach, to watch YouTube videos of the 20TH CENTURY FOX STUDIOS logo. Both the student and coach discovered that many people are quite obsessed with the logo and create numerous variations of it using their names, ages, and interests. 

Scripted Language: 

Searching through the YouTube menu Student K was given scripted language to help choose the video of preference eg.

“Can I watch a video of 20th Century Fox?’

“I would like that one!”

“I like that video.”

“I do not like that video.” 

After learning the script, the coach used books to reinforce the used language e,g ‘Please Mum!’ ( By Julie Ellis And Andy Hammond) which uses the repeated question “Can I have…?”  which aided the student to generalize this particular question in a different situation. In the book, the characters who are children, ask their Mom when visiting a bakery for cakes, buns, cookies, etc. which of course was quite tantalizing to the autistic carbohydrate and sweet taste buds.

The coach, knowing the student’s birthday was nearing, asked the student what kind of cake was to be served at the party. The student reached for a board and drew a picture of a cake with the logo 20TH CENTURY KLAUS STUDIOS on top. 

Student K then asked …

                                      “Can I have a 20th Century Studio cake?” 

                                      “Can I have vanilla Frosting?” 

The coach assisted the excited student to write a letter to the parents requesting a 2Oth Century Fox birthday cake. 

Further Generalization:

Student K continued the point of interest by sawing and hammering a wooden model of 27th Century Fox during woodwork class asking the teacher “Can I have a saw?’, “Can I have a hammer?”, “Can I have nails?” and produced a wonderful rendition of the accompanying Instrumental music using various drums in music class.


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