I shared this little story on FaceBook today…
A few months ago, in an effort to help Trevor stay in bed past 5:45am on a daily basis, we bought an alarm clock for his room. We set it for 6:15am and told him he would be staying in his bed until 6:15 when Daddy would come get him. He’s safely zipped into a Nickel Bed Tent and can’t escape without help. We’ve been enjoying that extra 30 minutes!
Usually Jonathan has his alarm set so that he’s up and in Trevor’s room right at 6:15. But this morning Jonathan’s phone didn’t go off.
Trevor’s alarm started beeping and when Dad didn’t come immediately he began hollering…
HEY, WHAT YOU WAITING FOR?!
It was a cute story. And I always like sharing cute stories on FB. Actually…I’m addicted to sharing cute stores on FB.
A special needs mom friend commented it was a great idea and she was going to try it at their home too.
It made me think I should share it here too. And maybe a couple other “tricks” that have been working for us.
I know there is a predominant philosophy out there which encourages ignoring behaviors. Particularly in children like Trevor where the behaviors are often linked to attention seeking. The theory is even negative attention is attention and therefore ignoring is the best choice. I have found that philosophy just doesn’t work in our home. In fact, last week’s attempt to throw a net book computer at a therapist during home based ABA happened during an ignoring behavior technique. I’m sorry but it is not acceptable in our home for Trevor’s behavior to escalate to that point. I have found that applying consequences works best for him. Even more so than rewarding behavior. Just like every “idea” out there…there is no one size fits all. I am convinced to my marrow that the key isn’t really “the approach” but rather the consistency of whichever approach you decide works best in your home. As utterly exhausting as it is…consistency really is key! Any one who tells you different is selling snake oil. 😉
So with all that said…
Every summer we see not so happy behaviors emerge. Trevy is so cute and funny that people are often surprised when I share that we struggle with behavior management at home. But it’s true. And it requires an awful lot of energy on my part to help manage. Especially when I don’t have a home helper or therapist with us.
This summer’s lovely behaviors are hitting/kicking/property destruction (I lump that all together) and spitting.
I have two main choices for the first behavior.
If Trevor hits or kicks or is violent…I have him do exercises. Run laps, push-ups, karate kicks…etc. He is not a fan of exercises and while this approach takes A LOT of energy to follow through on my part…it has been working!
If the violent behavior is more destructive like slamming doors or throwing books at shelves rather than placing them…I have him repeat the appropriate behavior seven times in row. Seven for his age. My goal is to reinforce the appropriate behavior by actually teaching him HOW to be appropriate (because maybe he doesn’t know how to not slam a door 😉 ) while at the same time limiting his desire to be inappropriate by making the consequence undesirable. Even though he often thinks of repeating the appropriate behavior as a game…well, it just gets old after awhile.
For all day long at everyone and everything spitting…I starting making him brush his teeth. It’s an awesome consequence because he really needs to be brushing his teeth more than twice a day AND it’s giving him oral motor input. Trevor is NOT a fan of brushing his teeth. So my hope is that this will curb the spitting altogether. And if not…at least he’ll have minty fresh breath with a bonus of activating all those mouth muscles to help improve his speech. 😛
My rule of thumb when I’m trying out a new trick is to give it at least a month of honest to goodness effort. I am by no way or means an expert on anything but Trevy. And really…I’m not even an expert on him! Trust me…Trevy (ahem…and me!) still has a long way to go. So I’m not saying any of these tricks are magic cures. Because there is no such thing. But they are handy dandy tricks that seem to be working for us. So I thought I’d share.