Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The three-step, two minute warnings, a couple dozen shoe boxes, and high-fives

Let me start off by saying, I can tell time.  If you're around me while around my boys for any length of time, you may question that.  Thanks to several teachers, therapists, and other special moms, the Two-Minute Warning is one of many helpful hints/aids/strategies we use to teach the boys as well as navigate potentially chaotic situations.  One of the very BEST tools we use daily is the Two-Minute Warning.  When I want to let the boys know the activity they are participating in is going to end soon, and another will then begin (regardless of the actual amount of time), I "warn" them.  For example, I'll say "in two minutes playtime is finished, then time for bath."  I'm telling you, it works like a charm!  It has nothing to do with actual time measurement, but aids in transitioning from one thing to the next.  I use it so much, I don't think about it at all, but when we are around people that aren't used to it, Tom laughs and feels inclined to let them know I failed that subject in school!

Getting children who are on the spectrum to comply with what you ask them to do can be a real challenge for a number of reasons; then couple that with the fact they are also just stubborn children exercising their independence...well, then you can have some real fun!  The teachers at Mitchell's Place use The Three-Step to teach these children compliance and it works something like this: 1) tell the child to "sit down"; if he does, praise him, if not  2) say "sit down like this, you do it" while modeling the behavior yourself.  If it works, praise him, if not  3) say "sit down" while making him do so, with no praise.  This teaches them to comply the first time, and eventually these steps are phased out.  They learn it is expected of them to do what they are told.  What is so funny is that Aidan does The Three-Step on Andrew; and recently Andrew tries to do it to me!

One of the skills Andrew is quickly learning is building his attention to task (or attention span) while doing his table work.  They work on this daily at school, but something we are able to do at home to reinforce this is having Andrew complete his work boxes while sitting at his table for extended periods of time.  He loves doing his work!  We usually have four or five boxes lined up, and as he completes each one, he puts it in his "all done" basket.
Each shoebox has a different activity which he completes with no verbal prompting from me.  I only point to direct him if necessary.

Mom's old laundry basket is the "all done" basket.

It's amazing how well he concentrates (15 minutes in one sitting-completing all boxes).  Andrew is so motivated merely by his sense of accomplishment and pride.  It is so hard to believe that not too long ago, I couldn't get him to sit still long enough to "read" a short board book, and now he is sitting through an entire one hour (or longer) worship service every Sunday!!!

Of course, none of the things we do would accomplish much without the abundant praise, "good jobs", "thumbs up", "excellent, dudes", and "awesomes" we heap upon them with every accomplishment (big and small) and every positive behavior exhibited.  So, "high five!!" to my sweet boys for everything you've learned; mommy and daddy love you and are so proud of you!

1 comment:

  1. your boys are amazing, sherri! i love your blog--i'm following it's RSS feed now ;)