Something we utilize often in our home is behavior modification through different outlets such as behavior management charts, positive reinforcement, and sometimes negative reinforcement.
This is a great chart for the little super hero in your life. Use this with star stickers for each time they complete a chore, laminate and use with a dry erase markers, or use on the Fridge with small magnets. It comes with 4 customizable spots to add the chores of your choice.
Checkout the link below to purchase it at Etsy.com
The other night I was sitting in solidarity at my dining room table, coffee in one hand and pen firmly grasped in the other jotting down my To DO list, my Shopping list, my things to get done around the house list, and the list goes on and on. I survive on lists, from childhood to now it is my method of survival. There is something satisfying about seeing a check or a cross out on the list, it is visual proof that I am actually getting things done. As I sat and wrote out my lists with much mockery from my husband, how my lists even have lists it dawned on me, maybe this is exactly what our son Frank needs. Much like myself he too struggles with ADHD amongst other things, yet honestly I feel that the ADHD is the root of all evil, and if we can get that under control the other behaviors may follow suit.
From my own experience, I know the inattention can be a killer, and then the stress of forgetting things can be just as bad, and of course I hate when people remind me of things because even though they may not be scrutinizing on me about my ADHD I know it is a reason of why I can forget sometimes and having to be reminded to do everyday tasks sure annoys me. Wow, it took me 5 years to correlate my situation with his, 5 years to even remember that although we are two very different beings that we both suffer from a similar ailment.
In that moment my inattention grabbed me, and hurryingly I completed a task list for him detailing every major activity from morning to bedtime. I was so excited to share it with him, and he is so use to trying out new behavior modifications that he was happy to oblige. When he came home on Friday afternoon I sat down with him, went over the last, answered any questions he had, then handed him the list with a pen.
It was like magic, my child was transformed. No forgetting, no tantrums, no anger, no excuses, not even one timeout. The weekend went as smooth as butter, it’s a miracle, a Christmas miracle, ok maybe not but this Momma is ecstatic and cannot wait to see how this progresses.
I asked him how he felt the weekend went, and his exact words were “awesome, super awesome”. I also asked him if he would like to share his weekend experience on the blog and here is what he had to say “the weekend went better, much better than it’s ever been, and I am happy to say that I am proud of myself and I am proud of my mom because my mom thought of a way to help me”. I definitely had to hold back the tears on that one, but it is always good to hear. I will periodically check in, and update the blog to let you all know about his progress with the checklist, since we do all know that what may work today may not work tomorrow.
Thank you for stopping by and reading, I hope you find this useful. Any questions, or tips? Please leave a comment below and I would be happy to hear what everyone has to say!
It has been 9 days since we implemented the list, and what a great 9 days. We have seen such a drastic change in Frank's behaviors since we started the list. We are still seeing behaviors, but they have been age appropriate. The worst day was yesterday when he misplaced his checklist rather than telling me, he utilized it as his chance to not do his morning routine despite me prompting him to do it. Rather than punishing him for not doing his routine, and misplacing the list, I simply printed him out another list and he was not allowed any activity until it was complete. He had an aggressive out burst today which I am unsure of what to attribute it to, but I am not going to say we weren't expecting it. Every day is baby steps, and nine days with out an outburst, meltdown, etc. is a huge accomplisment. Tomorrow morning, the slate gets wiped clean and we start the day count once more.
See you soon,
An ongoing struggle that I have with my son and his brain disorders are the
behaviors and inabilities that come to follow. Sure every child has issues with not listening, and not wanting to do their chores, but when it comes to children with brain disorders they need a little bit more incentive, effort, and reminding as they do not have the executive functioning ability as other children their age.
A great article to better explain this is “Understanding Executive Functioning Issues” by Amanda Morin from Understood.org (You can find the link for the article at the end of my blog). Executive functioning issues are often found in children with learning and attention issues as well as in children with “neurological conditions, mood disorders, autism and acquired brain injury” (Morin, 2016). Key skills that are affected by executive functioning issues include impulse control, emotional control, flexibility, working memory, self-monitoring, planning and prioritizing, task initiation and organization. This makes everyday tasks such as chores, and homework very difficult for not only my son, but children who also live with brain disorders.
When I give my son a chore it is more like giving myself another chore, sorry if it sound’s snarky but my son cannot compute a two-step command the way we are able to. For example, when I hand my son a pile of his folded laundry and ask him to put it away I should expect that:
A. The clothes will not make it into his drawer
B. The clothes will ALL make it into 1 drawer
C. A meltdown or an emotional reaction will occur while completing such task
I only say this all from experience. I often would get very frustrated with this, especially considering that we have two other children in the same age frame that do tasks with no problem. The big difference is the other two do not have brain disorders, and I often lose sight of that.
The other night after prompting him to put away his clean laundry which was folded, and separated, and I even verbally reminded him where each item went, I discovered that all of his clean clothes were shoved in one drawer, to the extent of breaking the drawer, and some were even strategically shoved in the bedroom closet. I resisted the urge to kick and scream and throw a tantrum myself, instead I walked away as mommy needed a moment.
After a few woo-sah moments I called him into my room where I was finishing up the rest of the laundry. I asked him if he could explain to me what happened, why he wasn’t able to put the clothes where they belonged. I thought it was a simple 1…2…., but what he explained really opened my eyes, and allowed me to get a glimpse of it from his perspective.
1. Pick up clothes
2. Put in drawers
1. Listen to mom when she speaks
2. Mom said to put clothes in the drawers
3. Mom said to remember where all the clothes go
4. Mom said short sleeves in first drawer, long sleeves in second drawer, shorts in third drawer, and pants in fourth drawer.
5. Pick up the clothes off of the bed
6. There folded so don’t drop them
7. Open the door to the downstairs
8. Make sure to close the door for the stairs behind me
9. Don’t drop the clothes down the stairs
10. Open my bedroom door
11. Turn on my bedroom light
12. Put the clothes down
13. Open the drawer
14. Put the short sleeves in the first drawer, long sleeves in second drawer, shorts in third drawer, and pants in fourth drawer.
15. All clothes are put away
16. Close the drawer
See, for us we think it’s a simple task because we look at the larger picture, yet for them the working memory that would allow everything else such as turning the light on to be a knee jerk reaction, actually has to be self-prompted and makes a simple task a complexed one.
Although I was aware of this more or less and have helped him with similar issues, in this moment I honestly lost sight that what I was asking of him was a lot more than he could handle. My solution going forward for the laundry issue is to place all of his clothes on his bed, folded, and labeled with an index card, or verbally prompt him with him visually looking at the clothes on the bed and his dresser. In the past for similar reasons everything in his room was labeled so we agreed that, that may help as well and I will label his drawers for him.
We currently use a lot of visual reminders such as lists, and good behavior sayings posted on the wall to help with managing him, and decided creating a list for not only his laundry chore but for all chores would help, which is another task on the mommy do list.
I included some great visual behavior management/modification tools below which I recommend taking a look at if you are having similar issues as I am.
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