21 Sep Manic Mondays Solution #1: Dangle a Carrot!
Parents of children with autism know all too well the difficulties our children experience with transitions. For many of us, the Monday morning transition back to school can be the most anxiety provoking, dysregulating transition all week.
When my children struggled with those “Manic Monday” transitions I would create reinforcers, or as I like to call them “carrots” based on their affinities. The carrots would be highly engaging, and then dangled during the Monday afternoon pick up time.
Some of the “Manic Monday” carrots we have used throughout the years with my own children and with many of the children we support at Friend 2 Friend have been:
- McD’s Monday (an early dinner on the way home)
- Monday App Day (choose or buy a new app for your iPad)
- Miss a little Mondays (early pick up to shorten the day)
- Mouthwatering Mondays (baking a sweet treat together when you get home)
- Movie Mondays, as well as DVD Tuesdays, Fun Fridays, and the list goes on
While some may feel these carrots are not “appropriate” ways of encouraging children to go to school, I say that we all give ourselves carrots every now and again. The bigger the transition – the more stressful and the more dysregulating – then the bigger the carrot.
At the Friend 2 Friend Play Centres the transitions into play group is rarely an issue, however, the transition out of play group is a different story! Who wants to leave when you are busy on a secret agent mission or tending to sick animals at our animal hospital? Therefore, to lessen the children’s’ stress about the transition out of play group we offer routine, predictability and simple carrots like choosing a sticker (after you get your shoes on of course), as well as a visual schedule and “How to Play…” Social Stories to prepare the children for the next play group session.
For me, coffee it is my carrot! Anyone else feel they need or deserve a coffee once a less preferred task has been completed?
Do you have any unique “Manic Monday” transitions, or carrots (reinforcers) you would like share with us?
Want to learn more about reinforcers a.k.a. carrots? Click on the link below. http://www.emstac.org/registered/topics/posbehavior/schoolwide/positive.htm