Sunday, April 1, 2012

How Using a Reward Chart Helped My Child With Autism

And now we see a worrying statistic of One in 88 children diagnosed with autism by age 8, according to the CDC.

Many of you know that Victoria started The Victoria Chart Company back in 2004 for her son who was diagnosed with Cerebral palsy, my son is Autistic and I wanted to share a little about how we cope with Autism touching our lives. We would like to offer a 20% discount until 4/30/2012 to help all those families who are affected by autism in some way. We would be delighted if you shared it!

I have always been a great believer in positive praise, way before I had even heard of  The Victoria Chart Company.  We learn as we go along sometimes what works and what doesn't for our children and I found out years ago that raising my voice has the complete opposite effect when dealing with my son. It is a guaranteed way of a complete shutdown and possibly even a meltdown (even today!) And so we started down the route of using a reward chart. - simple stickers or stars stuck on a piece of paper on the wall in the kitchen.  It worked for a few days...

Reward charts take work and determination by parents - it wasn't something that I was expecting - just put a sticker on a chart everytime you want to encourage your child to do well - sounds easy enough doesn't it?

Well, looking back on the 'reward chart' I used, it wouldn't exactly instill me to do well either to be honest, and then I came to hear about The Victoria Chart Company through a friend of mine.  She showed me samples and I became hooked. Not just me, my son loved them too!  We were able to customize to his individual needs; simple things to start with like when he started school he could never keep his shoes and socks on, so with the help of the teachers in his school he would earn 'gold stars' each day for keeping his shoes firmly on his feet! He would also earn stickers for not sucking his shirt collars - something he would do as he was anxious at school.

It worked! The charts were visually appealing - he became very proud of his progress and would show his completed chart to friends and family members visiting our home. I noticed a difference in my son, his self-esteem was building. He was getting positive praise and he just loved it.

Several years later my path crossed again with The Victoria Chart Company as they opened an office in Florida (about 40 miles from me) and I wanted to get involved. I now work for The Victoria Chart Company looking for organizations and parents in the USA who would benefit from using the range of products that The Victoria Chart Company offers.

Due to a change of schools I found a new purpose for using a reward chart again, it became a very useful tool for Homework - all aspects of this - bringing it home, completing it and handing it in. My son is a little old for stickers now but he gets to earn points ... and points mean prizes!! Not big things, maybe a trip to the movies, choosing what to eat for dinner or even choosing the restaurant if we go out. We would discuss the rewards that he could earn with enough points and I got his 'buy-in' to the system in place. We used the My Credit Chart which can be customized for his needs.

Some may say this is like bribing your kids to do things that they should be doing. I do not agree with this statement. Yes of course I want him to complete homework for example, and if that means on a Friday night he gets to choose what meal I cook, I am absolutely fine with that - it helps him with decision making!  We do not use the reward chart all the time but it definitely bring comfort to us both when there is an issue we want to discuss.

Reward charts are a useful tool for all children, not just for children with Autism - but I believe that Autistic kids are very visual which is why these charts work so well.

By Karen Waterfield

The Victoria Chart Company is currently offering a discount of  15% using coupon code VCHART15. This can be used on the website or

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