SearchClose

FacebookTwitterLinkedInPinterest

Behavior at the Table

User Rating:  / 1

 

“Behavior” at the Tablelunch table final


I hear a lot about “behavior.” Technically, “behavior” is a noun, I’m told. I don’t think of it as a person, place, or thing, though. From my point of view, it’s a category of actions, which makes it a verb. This word, “behavior,” gets us into a lot of trouble.

I am sure you have heard this: “We could certainly do more if he didn’t have behaviors.”

That’s a pretty strong statement. How do you not have any behavior? That sounds like a really boring existence, and not one I want for anyone – especially one of the people I support or my own children…or me!

For the month of November – a month traditionally void of a full week of school – I’m going to focus on various aspects of “behavior” and healthy living for people with Down syndrome and related disabilities.

Send me your “table time behaviors” and we’ll work them through together! (Don’t worry, your confidentiality will be absolutely honored!) You can send your stories and the "beahviors" you would like to change to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

This should be fun!

A Blast from the Past: Creating Soutlions - Disability Solutions

User Rating:  / 1

A Blast from the Past: Creating Solutions - Disability Solutions


I am ple ased to be able to offer electronic copies of Disability Solutions to visitors to my site. This work represents 10 years of investigation, learning, and collaboration with many talented professionals and parents. The articles, are provided here with the same mission as originally intended: To do good for, and with, people with Down syndrome and related disabilities. Many of the topics are timeless and some are one-of-a-kind!

The work related creating, editing, and publishing Disability Solutions was key to my growth as a professional and, more importantly, as a Mother. Every issue touched my family directly, and still do. I hope they will continue to inspire you as well.

Many people put in hours of time, free-of-charge, to create these issues. If you are interested in reprinting any of the articles, please honor the following guidelines:

  • Do not change the article.
  • Cite the author fully.
  • Cite the source : reprinted from, Disability Solutions, Vx,Issue X. Accessed at www.DownSyndromeNutrition.com on (insert date of access).
  • You may not use any content in any issue of Disability Solutions for profit. That means, you may not reprint articles in a book or any other publication you plan to sell for profit.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to email me. (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it )

Reprint Information for Disability Solutions

Disability Solutions was designed to be shared in the public domain, especially for families. If you would like to reprint or share material from Disability Solutions in a book, newsletter, electronic, or any other format for which you will receive any payment, permission is required.

When you do reprint material, please include the author's name and list Disability Solutions as the source. Please send copy of the article reprinted or the URL of the web page where it is located. Please send requests for permission to the publication address.

Copyright Statement for reprints:

Please include the following when reprinting anything from Disability Solutions

" (Year) © Copyright Creating Solutions. This article is reprinted with permission from Disability Solutions Vol X, Issue X. For more information, visit www.DownSyndromeNutrition.com"

Food Rewards: Help or Hindrance?

User Rating:  / 1

 

Save

I overheard Melissa talking to a friend the other day. She was explaining her day. “In social skills group, I get a tiny bag of skittles like the ones you get on Halloween. Mrs. R gives us a chocolate kiss after music. Miss Sally gives me jelly bellies after I do my writing exercises. In Mr. White’s class I have a chart for when I listen carefully. When I get 10 stickers, I get to pick a piece of candy from the jar.”

Use of food as a reward system in schools is not new. It is an easy and universally understood token for students of all ages and abilities. It’s common for a class of students to work toward a pizza party or other food-related event. However, for students with Down syndrome and related disabilities, the use of food rewards can become so prevalent in teaching methodology it gets the way of lunch! For Melissa, the candy appears to be the most exciting part of the day.

When working in isolation, these rewards seem harmless. However, the totality of the candy offered throughout the day is a very real problem. Not only do they provide too may empty calories in a day, but the process, the habit, of earning food can wreak havoc later in life. Think about the behavioral lesson. What is this student learning? She is learning that if she complies with the rules, she gets candy. She is learning that food is an expected part of a good day at work. For some students, this becomes a well-established groove into adulthood that is difficult to break. For others, good work triggers the desire to eat. It’s difficult to find a good reason to continue to offer food as any sort of regular reward.

What to do?

First, use the accommodations and modifications section of your child or student’s IEP. An appropriate accommodation for this student is “No food rewards.” This will serve as a reminder to all team members. However, whenever a technique is taken away, it must have an equally effective one. This is where the team work comes in to play. I encourage parents and teachers to create a list of the things that motivate each student. For many, the best reward is a social connection: a high five, a statement of praise, time with friends doing an infrequent, favored activity, and so on. A visual tool for this would be a reward chart with stickers, building up to special time with friends. One young lady I worked with was more excited about earning clips and bows for her hair than anything else. We all knew when it was an especially good day when you could barely see her hair for the clips and bows.

When working with middle school and high school students, sit down with them to create the reward list. Ask them what it is they would like to do. Involving students in classroom contracts makes them more meaningful.

Of course there are times when a classroom party is the most appropriate activity for students! Focus the party on activities and what they did to earn the party more than the pizza or ice cream. Regardless, food is an integral part of life. Our job, as parents and educators, is to use it wisely.

2010 © Phronesis Publishing, LLC

 

 

Photo is ©istockphto.com/ migin

 

I overheard Melissa talking to a friend the other day. She was explaining her day to a friend, “In social skills group, I get a tiny bag of skittles like the ones you get on Halloween. Mrs. R gives us a chocolate kiss after music. Miss Sally gives me jelly bellies after I do my writing exercises. In Mr. White’s class I have a chart for when I listen carefully. When I get 10 stickers, I get to pick a piece of candy from the jar.”

Use of food as a reward system in schools is not new. It is an easy and universally understood token for students of all ages and abilities. It’s common for a class of students to work toward a pizza party or other food-related event. However, for students with Down syndrome and related disabilities, the use of food rewards can become so prevalent in teaching methodology it gets the way of lunch!

When working in isolation, these rewards seem harmless. However, the totality of the candy offered throughout the day is a very real problem. Not only do they provide too may empty calories in a day, but the process, the habit, of earning food can wreak havoc later in life. Think about the behavioral lesson. What is this student learning? She is learning that if she complies with the rules, she gets candy. She is learning that food is an expected part of a good day at work. For some students, this becomes a well-established groove into adulthood that is difficult to break. For others, good work triggers the desire to eat. It’s difficult to find a good reason to continue to offer food as any sort of regular reward.

What to do?

First, use the accommodations and modifications section of your child or student’s IEP. An appropriate accommodation for this student is “No food rewards.” This will serve as a reminder to all team members. However, whenever a technique is taken away, it must have an equally effective one. This is where the team work comes in to play. I encourage parents and teachers to create a list of the things that motivate each student. For many, the best reward is a social connection: a high five, a statement of praise, time with friends doing an infrequent, favored activity, and so on. A visual tool for this would be a reward chart with stickers, building up to special time with friends. One young lady I worked with was more excited about earning clips and bows for her hair than anything else. We all knew when it was an especially good day when you could barely see her hair for the clips and bows.

When working with middle school and high school students, sit down with them to create the reward list. Ask them what it is they would like to do. Involving students in classroom contracts makes them more meaningful.

Of course there are times when a classroom party is the most appropriate activity for students! Focus the party on activities and what they did to earn the party more than the pizza or ice cream. Regardless, food is an integral part of life. Our job, as parents and educators, is to use it wisely.