Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Change Undesired Behavior by Implementing a Reward Board!

Using postive reinforcement as a method to discipline children helps parents and carers to enhance their child's self esteem. Not only do children learn right from wrong in a positive way, it also encourages them to become more confident and feel proud of their progress. A reward chart is the vital tool to help parents and carers addressing such issues.  It acts as visual reminder to positively acknowledge a child's progress.

We have found an interesting article written by Craig at autismspot.com,  just published which discusses changing undesired behavior in children using a reward system. Here is an extract from the report:

I absolutely love using positive intervention strategies to help reinforce positive behavior! Too many times (and over too many years), I have seen teachers verbally discipline students for inappropriate behavior (sometimes screaming at the top of their lungs), and while such a tactic may have its time and place (when and where, I'm not sure), it often, in the end, does little to change the behavior for the better. As a matter of fact, it often has the opposite effect.

Take Brandon, for example, a third grade student in a typical third grade classroom. Brandon often exhibits off-task behaviors such as eloping (i.e, walking away from his seat without the teacher’s permission), talking to his neighbor at inappropriate times, and will sometimes refuse to complete independent work at his seat. These behaviors, which have persisted over three months now, often frustrate his teacher, who has resorted to using harsh verbal discipline as a means to correct it. For example, when Brandon is observed eloping from his seat without permission, his teacher will draw negative attention to the behavior by yelling at him in front of his peers. This, as one can imagine, is neither effective or helpful. She might even take it a step further by keeping him in for recess, if the behaviors persists. Not only does this attract negative, unwanted attention from Brandon’s peers, but it also makes him feel badly about himself. While using verbal discipline may help stop the behavior in the moment, it, again, does not do much to truly change the behavior. As a direct result, not only do the behaviors persist, but Brandon’s confidence and self-worth is quickly on the decline as a result. Because Brandon is not rewarded for anything positive, he makes little attempt to change the behavior, himself. And why should he? He has no incentive to do so.

Now let’s take Ryan. Ryan is also a third grade student who demonstrates behaviors that are similar to Brandon’s (eloping from his seat, talking to his neighbor, refusal to complete assigned tasks, etc.). Ryan’s teacher, however, takes a more positive, proactive approach to these behaviors, in hopes to eventually change (not just stop) the behaviors – permanently! Instead of focusing so much on Ryan’s negative behaviors, his teacher highlights the positives by constantly praising him for the things he does right! (i.e., timely completion of tasks, appropriate social interactions, etc.) While Ryan’s teacher will use verbal reinforcement as a means of reinforcing positive behavior, she also uses a tactile/visual approach by implementing a Reward Board. (Ryan’s teacher knows the importance of using a multi-sensory approach.) Notice that Ryan’s teacher uses the term, “Reward Board,” as opposed to “Behavior Chart.” “Reward Board” has a more positive intonation to it, whereas “Behavior Chart” (in my opinion) has more of a negative one. Again, if our goal is to change a child’s behavior, we want to be consistent with focusing on the positives. Doing so will allow the child to feel better about himself, which, ultimately, is what it’s all about! Now, this is not to say that we shouldn’t ever correct observed inappropriate behaviors, but rather we should give greater attention to the positive behaviors we see.  To continue reading the article .....

We know from many years of experience how important it is to reinforce good behavior by being positive - a little like a child receiving a sticker at the Doctors office when he/she has been brave. All children LOVE receiving attention. It it all too easy to forget to recognize good behvior in your child and to focus on the negative. By using a reward chart, your child will realize that they can get attention from their good behaviors too, and the negative behaviors will ease.

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