Monday, August 23, 2010

Motivation: an Interesting (I think) but bit more time-consuming post....)

What will be time-comsuming about this post is the ten minutes needed to watch this video clip. But please do, and then read on below.....

If, as what this video asserts, pure monetary/ prize-type rewards don’t work in cases involving higher cognitive tasks, maybe we should be paying more attention to what DOES work. Even in our intellectually-impaired children. True, they will be doing mostly the simpler type of tasks where prize-type rewards work, but I think that the other types of rewards need to be pursued by us as well:

* Autonomy
What teenager doesn’t want to be his “own boss? And I have news for you: so do teens with intellectual impairments. The more we can show our child that skills will help them be autonomous, and the more autonomy that we give them as they work, often we can get better results. Often I find that Ricki will work better on a project (that she IS capable to do alone), if I let her know that she HAS the abilities, and I leave her alone for five minutes (even setting a timer), and let her work alone, saying I will return when the timer rings.

* Mastery
Few things are as motivating as realizing that you are competent at something. I know that Ricki HATED sewing until she developed her skills in sewing, and then suddenly she began to enjoy it. If your child can fry an egg, except for one small part of the task, try and teach him the final part, so that they will gain full mastery. A good way of teaching new skills is to “backstep”. [To do this, list EVERY SINGLE part of the task that needs to be learned, in order of performance, and start with the LAST step first. (And move backwards step-by-step as he learns…) This gives the child/young adult a realization that this study will lead to mastery.]

* Purpose
Our special-needs population also enjoys having a purpose to their job, and a chance to do a good deed. Try to give them chances where they can help others.

1 comment:

Ilana said...

I thought this was a very interesting post. I will have to remember the tip of starting with the last step.

Recently, a teen I know with DS came to the locker room of the pool with her niece, 3yo. She seemed to be in charge of her niece, helping her change back into her clothing, etc. I didn't see the little girl's parents or grandparents hovering nearby, although it is possible they were on the premises and I just didn't see them. At any rate, I saw this the same day I read your post, and thought it related. Mastery and responsibility are so crucial.