A punishment or a reward?
When I show parents how to teach important life skills to their children with Autism, I always want to create a high desire for the child to want to come to the table and learn them.
For example, when I want to get Julianna to try new foods, something that is very difficult for her even to this day, I always bring a game to the table.
Whether it be Tic Tac Toe or UNO, (Julianna loves to play games) this helps her by making a non preferred skill easier for me to teach and her to engage in.
Makes sense, right?
I mean if your child WANTS to learn the skill then it’s SO much EASIER for you to successfully teach it to them.
Now when it comes to teaching, my main focus is what I call the BIG 3 – the life skills all children with Autism need to have an independent life. They are:
1. Potty Training
3. Stopping Problem Behaviors
If you can teach your child these 3 things, then they can live the independent life that you so badly want for them.
But how do we achieve it?
Well just like a card game gets Julianna trying a piece of apple, I like to use things your children find VALUABLE to get these life skills cranking.
That could be:
- Their iPad/iPhone
- Their favorite Toys
- Candy or Snacks
- Pool Fun
- Piggy Back Rides
- …Or anything THEY find value in
When I explain this to parents, sometimes they resist this idea – because they’re not down to withhold the things their baby loves.
- You see it as a punishment
- You think these things are needed for your child to self regulate
- You feel like they’ll be miserable if they don’t have free access to them
Because I don’t look at it like that.
I see it as….
REWARDING them with the things they love in exchange for learning the things they NEED.
When your child learns to pee and poop on the potty, they get REWARDED for getting it done.
When your child starts using their voice (or sign language, AAC Device, or PECS Book) to communicate what they want, I want you to CELEBRATE them by giving them access to their special thing.
And your baby is sitting at the table nicely and not throwing their crayons, I want you to smoosh them up with LOVE AND ATTENTION (Which are the REWARDS) for exhibiting appropriate behaviors.
The kicker to all of this is the principles are the same – you are giving them access to the things they love, except they have to earn the right to use them. And, the better they do, the MORE access they get!
Do you see how much better of a system this is?
A true win-win, for you and your child!
If you see it as a Punishment, vs. a REWARD, you will be less likely to stay the course to teach your baby the foundational life skills to live an independent life.
And not just seeing this as a punishment for them, but a punishment for you too.
No parent wants to feel like they’re punishing their child.
If you could look at the POWER of what they love as the motivator to living the life you dreamed for them before the diagnosis came, the possibilities are endless.
Every minute of every day, YOU ultimately get to choose how you want to think, how you want to feel, and the actions you want to take to help your baby move forward or stay stuck.
The choice is yours.
P.S. Are you struggling with Mom Guilt when it comes to using the things your baby LOVES to teach them to Potty Train, Communicate or Stop their Problem Behaviors? This is my JAM and just one of the many things we help you through in the Champions for Our Children program. Book a Call HERE to learn about working together and see if you’re a good fit for my program.
P. P. S. – Jessica is one tough Mama! She lives an active lifestyle so she thought she couldn’t do what was needed to potty train her daughter. She just celebrated one year out of diapers !!!
Watch her transformation here: