After almost two weeks of being cooped up in what I can still not decide is Winter Wonderland or Homebound Hell (I'm leaning towards the later), I have finally designed a sanity system. Using a token board dug up from Behavior Consultants Gone By, I have devised a simple, effective way for Sayer to "earn" his way onto the computer.
Here's how it works: Sayer loves to look at water slide, roller coaster and marble maze videos on YouTube, like this one. (That counts as developing keyboard skills, right? Maybe not.) So, we are leveraging YouTube privileges to motivate Sayer. Before doing YouTube, he has to earn five tokens by completing five tasks. He gets a token -Tiddley Winks with Velcro - on the board for each task he completes.
Yesterday I used a written list of tasks that he checked off, similar to the schedule he uses at school. These were:
1. Empty dishwasher
2. Read a chapter of book from school. His current book is about metamorphosis and Sayer has a point, Chrysalis DOES sound like Christmas!
3. Watch a new DVD from the Scholastic Video collection, a Hanukkah gift
4. Put clean clothes from laundry basket into drawers
5. Make bed
This positive reinforcement strategy works great, much better than the "three strikes you're out; no YouTube tomorrow!" threat. For one thing, we kept loosing track of the strikes, and for another, with tokens we make sure that Sayer does homework and chores regularly. It also reinforces behavior strategies used in his class room.
And most important of all, I really don't WANT to take away the YouTube privilege because snowy days (and, to be honest, many clear days) are long and when Sayer is on YouTube I can, well, do stuff. Like write this blog post on my lap downstairs, which I am doing right now.
On balance, it takes a bit of forethought to come up with the list of token chores, and I try not to do this BEFORE my first cup of coffee. And Sayer still needs some supervision for most tasks. But, the token system still pays back in dividends. Unless we have another power outage...
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