4O WAYS TO IMPROVE YOUR CHILD’S BEHAVIOR
BY: CAYETANO POLANCOS JR., MAED-SPED, PTRP
The parent who has a child diagnosed with a developmental condition should undergo parenting classes. Traditional skills in child rearing may not always be applicable due to the complex nature of this childhood disorder. As a proactive parent, one must research in order to find light to unending questions and confusions surrounding this new chapter in his life.
PARENT AS A RESEARCHER
Educate yourself about your child’s condition, i.e. definition, characteristics, interventions and prognosis using books, journals, TV shows, youtube videos, and helpful internet websites, example Https://shapingpro.wordpress.com.
Write down your observations in a journal notebook or diary. Writing is effective in monitoring recurrent behaviors. Your observations and interventions on that situation are recorded emphasizing the frequency, intensity and duration of maladaptive behaviors.
- BEING AN ADVOCATE.
Help others in early detection using A-E-I-O-U.
Problems and difficulties with articulation, eye contact, imitation, obedience and use of hands and feet which persists in 6 month are red flag signs. Through this, you will realize that sharing one’s thoughts could prevent further deterioration of the condition since early screening is paramount to positive prognosis.
Walking, strolling or traveling, one can find interesting idea. Enriching your mind with fresh scenery, new events, and new itineraries can make your plight less depressing. Raising an exceptional child sometimes creates walls and boundaries and cut off communication lines and destroys paths. Go to church, malls, parks, parties.
- SEEK PROFESSIONAL HELP
Find professionals who are expert in the field. Developmental Pediatrician, OT, Speech Therapists, Physical Therapist or Behavioral Therapist, SPED Teachers, Psychologists are among your options. Find competent, experienced and knowledgeable people to help you. Do not allow this problem to overshadow your judgment. Act the soonest possible time.
- LEARN NEW SKILLS
PARENT AS AN ACTOR
Implementing interventions at home and community can be pleasurable if we provide humor and creativity to a stressful task. We are already acting before – but it was more emotionally charged. This time, providing alleviation to problems should not raise our pulse, heart rate and blood pressure.
- EYE CONTACT
The eyes are the window of the soul. It is often underestimated but for children with special needs, it is key for learning. Establish eye contact consistently during conversation, tutoring and emphasis on shown materials.
Adjust your voice modulation to moderate in normal discourse, energetic in ecstatic mood and subdued in depress tone. The child finds cue to your feelings. Verbalize, express and speak your hearts out.
You can certainly influence your child through your actions and words. Demonstrate the behavior you want your child to perform. Act until it becomes part of his repertoire of skills.
- ROLE PLAYING
- STORY TELLING
Speech and language deficits are present in every disorder. In this intervention, pile up beautiful stories or purchase simple story books and read it every night before he sleeps. You can make your own story.
- ARTS AND CRAFTS
Provide materials and make a product out of it like a project. To add skills, try selling it for training purposes in communication and social interaction.
- MUSIC AND MOVEMENT
Singing and dancing are innate for us Filipinos. Make it an instrument of growth and creative development. You may look for people to teach your child the basic steps or purchase materials to improve his craft.
PARENT AS A TEACHER
As a teacher, you facilitate learning. You guide the child and make learning enjoyable. Use multi-sensory approach, i.e. all senses are given stimulation – hearing, vision, tactile and kinesthetic. Reinforcers, visual aids and environment modification are needed to augment learning materials.
- TASK ANALYSIS
Break complex tasks into simpler, doable and achievable piece.
- TOKEN ECONOMY
Assign points for tasks and assign equivalent rewards for corresponding number of total points.
- BEHAVIOR CHART
Seeing an image or picture of actions, achievements, prohibitions, schedules posted in a wall as a reminder of your expectations can be a good reinforcer for the child.
- CONTRACT SETTING
A contract is a written agreement stating behavioral expectations, rewards for compliance and punishments for defiance and signatures of both parent and child.
- SOCIAL REINFORCER
This is the most commonly used form of reinforcement. Verbal expressions as well as physical expressions are readily available with no expense at all. Pat on the back, high five and smile are some examples.
- ACTIVITY REINFORCER
This method can be used as an exchange of good behavior. Any activities that are pleasurable to him can be used as reinforcement. Example are watching TV (3 years and above, limited) and playing a game with peers.
- TANGIBLE REINFORCER
Examples are toys, board games, marbles, stickers, art materials and edibles. Computer, tablet and cellphone games are highly discouraged.
- VERBAL REPRIMAND
It must be brief and direct to the point. It shows your disapproval. I can be in the form of scolding and just saying “No”.
It is the removal of a child from a situation in which reinforcers are available. It also includes withdrawal of attention, physical isolation, ignoring, seat time out (taking a nap position), facing a wall or corner and removal of materials from his environment.
- RESPONSE COST
It is the quickest way to reduce unwanted behavior. Remove the reinforcers from his line of vision.
To create an engram or memory trace, there should be a minimum of 3 repetitions to ensure adequate time for the brain to process. It can be incremental to test his endurance and tolerance.
- ASSERTIVE COMMUNICATION
Using “I” messages to convey your idea without shouting or ridicule. This is a mature approach where the child is treated with value.
- MODIFYING THE ANTECEDENT
Ensuring safety and anticipation of what might happen; re-designing the area to lessen distractions and unnecessary movements; and organizing sharp tools and fragile materials to prevent the behavior from happening.
- SOCIAL SKILLS TRAINING
Socially acceptable learned behaviors that enable a person to interact with others in ways that elicit positive responses and assist the person in avoiding negative responses.
- ACTIVE AND PLANNED IGNORING
PARENTS AS STRATEGIST
As a strategist, you have to know your PURPOSE. It means you have to prepare ahead to be on guard for possible negative events. You have to understand the strengths and challenges of this disorder. After that you rehearse, putting yourself as a doer and an empty chair as your subject. By this time you are ready to place it in real scenario – perform it with your child. Overcome obstacles surrounding your idea. Select the best strategy based on your knowledge. Use it. Evaluate after doing it. Some parents find it hard, but as a strategist you decide, choose and execute and be accountable for positive or negative results.
- OVERCOMING CRISIS
There are five stages that one has to undergo when there are events that are not favorable to our expectations. These are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.
- ADEQUATE NUTRITION
Pica, picky eater, junk foods, soda and swallowing problems are issues faced by parents daily. It is imperative that the parents use reinforcers to ensure compliance.
- BEHAVIOR TO PUNISH
These are dangerous behaviors such as running into the street without looking and intolerable behavior such as hitting other children to hurt them. It must be immediate. Do not punish frequently or its effects are diminished and child may no longer respond.
- LIFESTYLE MODIFICATION
The diagnosis is a ticket for the modification of unhealthy lifestyle. The focus of modification are home errands, communication, independent function in all aspects of daily living, scheduled trips, medical check-ups, school conference among other issues that must be addressed.
- HOME STRUCTURE
The home is your child’s first learning environment. Organize your home to accommodate your child’s special needs. It has designated and safe areas for playing, studying, putting toys or books and placing in time-out.
The primary occupation of the child is play. Adequate and quality time is needed to enter into their world without intruding and controlling the game or mood. The child is observant and open for learning in this period of pleasurable activity. Integrate teaching of concepts in a similar way.
General instructions for Jacobson’s technique involve tightening one muscle group while keeping the rest of the body relaxed, and then releasing the tension. Professionals who use this technique often combine it with breathing exercises or mental imagery.
- SLEEP PATTERNS
8-9 hours of sleep is recommended for children. Nap time is discouraged for children 4 years old and above. Lack of adequate sleep disables repair of tissues thus inhibit healing. Imbalance of neurochemicals in the brain promotes irritability, lack of focus, aggressiveness and short attention span. Learning is difficult as the brain processes are disoriented.
It is a psychological technique that consists of identifying and then disputing irrational or maladaptive thoughts. It is a way of viewing and experiencing events and emotions to find more positive alternatives. Change the conceptual and/or emotional setting or viewpoint in relation to which a situation is experienced and to place it in another frame to change its entire meaning. In teaching, reframing explains a point in a different way (analogy, association), thus helping those who did not understand it.
MATER QUO VADIS? MOTHER, WHERE ARE YOU GOING?
A PRACTICAL PARENTING GUIDE TO RAISING AN EXCEPTIONAL CHILD
JULY 24, 2015
HOLY CROSS OF DAVAO COLLEGE
PARENT SEMINAR IN CELEBRATION OF NATIONAL DISABILITY PREVENTION AND REHABILITATION WEEK (NDPR) 2015