Ode to Grumpy George (6/23/17)
I received this grumpy fish as a gift today and I couldn't be happier! I realize that might sound a bit odd, let me explain...
We used to play "Go Fish". Grumpy George was a character on the version we played. He quickly became our favorite over Scared Sally, Sleepy Sam, and even Worried Willy. Over time, we learned how to be flexible, how to make other matches, and to congratulate others, even if they ended up with our favorite card or character.
Coloring was tough at first too. Definitely NOT a preferred activity of ours. We would color one circle and then jump on the trampoline. Or, share the black crayon for 2 seconds, then 5, then 10, before tolerating and eventually voluntarily selecting other colors to color with. Our progress was slow at first. Sometimes progress is. Oh, but look where we are now! Coloring has become preferred and can now be done with such precision!
Not just coloring, but drawing too! When you listen to a learner about what motivates them, you can embed it into every task, in one way or another. Our fixation over the black crayon developed into our interest in drawing and shading with black gel pens. Luckily, that is a shared interest of ours!
Handwriting was hardly a challenge, except when we wanted to use our "decorative writing". You can see here our handwriting is now advanced, far beyond friends and classmates our age.
Ah, then there's our favorite number, the number 4. Written precisely how we like it, with a line underneath (just like it's written on the clock). It's also how old you were when we first met.
To me, this picture symbolizes perseverance, persistence, and personality. It exemplifies what can be achieved when a consultant, client, and caregiver come together for a common goal. My heart is heavy and yet completely full of joy!
A hui ho (until we meet again)...
When to teach "I WANT"
Thoughtful discussion on the Speech Pathology Applied Behavior Analysis SIG of ABAI page today about teaching "I want" to early learners. (6/12/2017)
Here's my 2 cents on the topic: When you teach "I want" as a carrier phrase, before other language skills have been taught, you run the risk of dysfunctional language later. Right now, when a learner is requesting things they "want", the phrase works. But what happens when they want to label the world around them? Instead of "IT IS raining" or "I AM sad", learners who have been taught carrier phrases too early on will say "I WANT raining" and "I WANT sad", when this is not what they mean. I second the recommendation of Dr. Vince Carbone as an EXCELLENT resource on this topic. I would also recommend Dr. Mary Lynch Barbera's work in this area.
Door #2 / Consolation Prize "Attention is Attention is Attention"
April 12, 2013: I usually tell parents that children don't typically "want" to be reprimanded or scolded, but will settle for that over the absence of praise. Some attention (any kind of attention) if preferable to none. I sometimes call it the "Door #2" phenomena or the "consolation prize". Perhaps the child would prefer praise, but there's power in being able to predict and ultimately, "attention is attention is attention".
March 2016: It is important for parents and caregivers to have access to quick, behavioral tips and techniques that are helpful for general behavior management. While the wording on point #11 appears to simplify the matter (re: intrinsic/extrinsic), I agree that parents and caregivers will want to plan for naturally occurring consequences. For example, rather than promising children a prize for eating all of their broccoli or threaten to take away a privilege if they don't, consider something that is naturally occurring and more directly related to the desired (or undesired) behavior. So, perhaps if the child tries their broccoli and doesn't like it they can opt for an alternate vegetable or they can refuse to try it and forego dessert with the rest of the family. I also think for some children, it can be important for their parents to pair social approval (smile, hug, high-five, thumbs up) or disapproval (frown, scowl, shrug) with the consequence. Ultimately, through pairing, one can transfer the effects of the extrinsic item to a something that is more intrinsically reinforcing/punishing.
Programming for Naturally Occurring Reinforcers
"Don't let a learner earn what they love, let them learn through what they love." (9/2017)
"I figure life isn't about being right, it's about being happy and about leaving the world a better place than how we first found it (individually and collectively). I guess I could be wrong, but even if I am, it's still an awesome ideal to aim for." (6/2013)
"There is a lot of good in this world. There is a lot of bad too. What will you focus on? What do you do to contribute? Change what you can change and then 'be the change you wish to see in the world'. (6/2013)
"Behavior is susceptible to shaping and conditioning. Just because we understand behavioral phenomena, does not mean we are exempt from its influences. If anything, we are more aware." (5/2013)
"There's nothing wrong with being wrong, it's only wrong if we're right...and we do nothing." (4/2013, On sustainability).
"If people put their efforts into destroying you, don't imitate them. Model and set an example for them." (3/2013)
"When you truly enjoy what you do, people truly enjoy being around you." (3/2013)
"Goals are what we aim for. What we end up with is a product of the process...aim high!" (2/2012)
"I'm selling science -and it's FREE!" (2010)
"Small world, smaller field." (2008)
"...attention is attention is attention." (2006)