Reinforcement implementation - Timing of an activity can turn it into a reinforcer rather than just a daily activity!
Parents and Caregivers often have a series of activities in the evening scheduled for their child. They might wonder why with all these wonderful activities they still have terrible behavior problems and non-compliance. The simple act of changing the order of the schedule and what day the activities occur on can completely solve all the behavior problems. One example is the use of television in your daily schedule for your child. If television time is given freely when they get home from school they may not have appropriate child's that evening. In contrast, if you move the television time to after they complete accurately the homework you may see a dramatic improvement in the speed and accuracy of the homework. Parents and caregivers should examine the schedule after school carefully with the behavior analyst if possible to determine the best times to place each activity with your individual child since each child has different reinforcers.
Parents or caregivers often ask " How do I get my children to help with chores!" The following are some tips to encourage them and motivate them to complete chores in the home.
1. Discuss reasons why it is important to do chores. For example, so that the house looks nice when their friends come over. A second reason might be to help the parent or caregiver so they have more time to cook for the child or go places with them.
2. It is helpful to make a list of possible chores and have the child choose a specific number that they would like to do. If the child enjoys the chore intrinsically he will be more likely to perform the chore.
3. A list of reinforcers that the child would like to earn weekly or daily for performing the chore can be useful. It is helpful to involve the child or observe him closely to make sure the reinforcers selected are actually going to motivate the child. For example, a child that does not like music will not be motivated by earning music tapes.
4. Making a daily schedule with the time the chores will be performed is helpful so that it becomes a rountine for the child.
5. Make sure all the children in the household are participating in chores so that no child feels he is doing more than he should be.
6. Finally, social praise and excitement about the chore by the caregiver can always helps strengthen the probablity that the child will continue to help out! Try to use an excited voice, be specific about the childs positive character within the praise and specific about the chore that you are happy with.
The above tips will increase the enjoyment of the chores and the likelihood that they will perform chores!
Preparation for the holidays to prevent behavior problems. Prepare for the food, gifts and to prevent childrens problems.
Caregivers and parents often prepare gifts for the holidays but not for the children. Here are some tips for the vacation days ahead!
1. Prepare a schedule and review it with the children. Place strategic reinforcers during the day for good behavior on the schedule and discuss them with the children.
2. Talk generally about the holiday and what it means and what others expectation is of their behavior. For example, grandma will be there she love to hear about your school and what you are learning. Also, more generally, the purpose of the the holidays is to be nice to family, enjoy our selves and have a peaceful visit so your father will relax if you behave yourself and ask him politely to play a game with you.
3. Make sure that items such as bedtime or other health related items are honored so that they are not overtired and cranky during the holidays. Before going on the trip make sure they take all vitamins and take those with you. Also, if there are any medical issues such as coughs make sure to address them with your pediatrician before the holidays. A cold given to another elderly relative could be very dangerous for that relative and create problems for you on the holiday
4. Let children pack as much as possible and take responsibility for their own belongings. They will feel more involved in the trip, have less inappropriate behavior when you do it for them and feel like they are more important and better about themselves.
5. Take small games or activities to use during time they are not occupied during the trip or vacation time.
The extra effort to prepare for the holiday will make it much more enjoyable for you, your relatives and the children too!!
Teaching new skills and how to fade out physical assistance with autism and children with developmental disabilities.
Parents and caregivers often want to teach an autistic or developmentally delayed children. After identifying a targeted behavior and assessing what level of assistance is needed. The person teaching should start at the level the child is currently functioning at. If the child needs complete or full guidance to perform the task that is the level of assistance to start at. Next after reinforcing the child at this level then move to less assistance or partial guidance. This can be done by moving gradually up the arm for example or using less physical contact to perform the task such as just one finger or sporadic touching of the arm. After reinforcing the child with partial guidance one touch and fading away from the child. Perhaps just giving one or two instructions and one touch and then reinforcing when he performs the task. Finally the trainer moves away physically from the child and just gives the one or two specific instructions and then reinforcers the child. This guidance training procedure can be used with almost any skill you want to teach your child.
Summary= Full guidance-Partial guidance- Verbal prompts
How to choose a household chore for my child with behavior problems, autism or developmental delays.
Parents or caregivers might consider the following in choosing a chore for there child.
1. Consider the physical abilities and limits of your child. If the chore involves lifting something heavy or using alot of motor movements that the child cannot do easily it will be difficult to motivate them to do the chore. For example, if you want the child to put things away on a high shelf or use a heavy vacuum this should be considered. You might want to purchase a lighter vacuum that does not have a cord in order to make the chore easier and more likely to be preformed.
2. The parent should consider the mental or intelligence level in choosing a chore. If you ask a child with a low IQ or to clean his entire bedroom this may be overwhelming and it may not occur. In contrast if you ask the child to put the blanket on the bed and pick up the blocks this may be easier. Giving him simpler chores may be easier for the child to accomplish and to motivate him to do on a daily basis.
3. The task should be one that the child might enjoy. Try to match his preferences or reinforcers with the chore. For example a child that likes sensory reinforcement may enjoy the water while washing the dishes. Another example is a chore such as serving guest lemonade may be enjoyed by a child that likes social interaction and praise!
4. The parent or caregiver should consider the long term goals for the child in choosing a chore. For example, if the child goals is going to be living with with his natural family (rather than in a home or a group home) maybe try to choose tasks that are useful to the other people in the household with tasks such as cooking. If the child is trying to learn a trade for the future making some money for himself perhaps a chore such as washing cars would be useful and he could later work in a car wash. If the child is going to try to work on the computer in the future perhaps helping the family by printing coupons for groceries' will help to develop the skills needed for a job with computer work.
Generally, all of the above factors should be considered in choosing a task for the child. The caregiver or parent should try to find a task that the child can do, that is enjoyable for the child, that is physically and mentally possible to do and finally that fits in with his long term goals and dreams for the future. This type of chore will be more useful to teach him/her and more likely to be consistently performed by the child.