We all want our children to be independent and resourceful, but not necessarily 100% of the time. Sometimes they need help with problem-solving. It’s tough when your little DIY-expert resists your best advice and ignores your words of wisdom, preferring to learn from natural consequences (a.k.a. “the hard way.”) If you wish you could just… Continue reading Problem-solving for children: asking the right questions
My father often says something rather wise: you get what you pay for. In the case of the exasperated dog trainer from last week’s post, we saw a pretty good illustration of this idea. She rewarded her dog for refraining from bad behaviour for 3 seconds, and that’s what the dog continued to do. They… Continue reading Rewards and side-effects- part 2
Child: *Poke poke poke poke poke poke* Me: “Sweetie, what are you doing?” Child: “I’m waiting for you to say ‘please stop’ so I can say OKAY!” Uh oh. As I mentioned last week, I’ve been working on training the children to be more agreeable, and I promised that there would be a reward when… Continue reading Rewards and side-effects, part 1
Just say OK. No whining, no arguing, no stomping, no screaming, no debating, no wheedling. It doesn’t work. It never works. Let’s just skip this. Just say OK, and we can move on. I am raising two infinitely optimistic boys, apparently. When they disagree with an instruction or a correction, I hear a lot of… Continue reading Just say OK: Notes from the home laboratory
Let me show you something that will make your life so much easier. Just like a traffic light, we need the right signals to tell us what to do. This might seem simplistic, but bear with me. At first, you may give me a look like the cat below: Next, I’ll explain how to make… Continue reading Green Means Go!
It’s Sunday evening. There’s been a sudden increase in the amount of defiance and quarreling, particularly from my eldest son, age almost-five. I’ve done some ignoring and some mild complaining, made a few threats, but nothing improves. I’m feeling discouraged (and frankly speaking, like a complete hypocrite), so I pick up my notebook. “I’m going… Continue reading Notes from the home laboratory: When in doubt, take data!
If you are the parent of a child with autism or any other developmental diagnosis, you will probably have identified some “restricted interests” your child is drawn to. Sometimes, these areas of interest can lead to elite academic opportunities, impressive works of art, or gateways to new social connections. Other times, these intense fixations don’t… Continue reading Obsessions and fixations: getting stuck and unstuck
This week, I was talking to a family who loved each other dearly but wanted to reduce the amount of nagging in the household (this story is shared with their permission.) The mother had carefully created a list all the household tasks, and offered a reward if the kids fulfilled one of the tasks in… Continue reading Shaping
Wash your hands. Use the toilet. Put away your dirty dishes. Don’t drop your socks on the floor. Stop hitting your brother. Don’t experiment with Mommy’s lipstick. Quit banging on the window. That necklace is not a toy. Don’t throw those down the stairs. Wipe up your spill, please. That screaming is hurting my ears.… Continue reading House Rules: 4 simple instructions that cover everything
If you have someone in your life who needs help following a routine or learning a complex new skill, it’s worth thinking about a visual schedule (also known as an activity schedule). There is some good evidence for its use with individuals with a variety of disabilities including Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Attention Deficit… Continue reading Visual schedules: why and how to use?