Tag: rewards

How To Use Rewards To Bring Out The Best In Your Exceptional Child

Ok so let me start this post by saying that I was originally against the idea of using rewards to get Michael to learn to use good behavior. I remember the exact conversation I had with his educator that went something like, “Isn’t that useful ABA type stuff for when kids with special needs are young and really don’t understand why the need to listen? He’s 11.” She quickly reassured me though that rewards can work well at any age, and even so-called neuro typical adults use them. You know those times you say, if I push through this deadline I’m going to go get a double latte with whipped cream after work, or I will treat myself to dinner out? Well, guess what parents, you are doing the reward system too! Obviously it is not something you will be continuing with your child indefinitively, but if it helps get them back on the right track as it has done for Michael, then go for it.

We have been using a points system where after Michael earns a certain amount of points, he can redeem it for a favorite video game or toy, small and not too expensive. We are now starting him on earning more points for a bigger reward, and have given him several options to choose- eating out at a favorite restaurant, a more expensive toy or a longer outing with Mom or Dad at a coveted place. What I have been impressed by with Michael, is how the combination of finding the right medication, along with good anxiety management tools and a behavior system that he really seems to understand, has been paying off. He is really getting how to control his words, actions and thoughts. Yes, there are still aggression and outbursts, but there is less of them, andd they are quickly followed by the use of strategies as well as learning lessons. He also has the added incentive of working towards something with his points. Dad and I could not be more proud of the hard work he is putting in, all among managing diabetes, OCD and the regular tween/teen hormones.

Exceptional Parents, have you ever been nervous about trying a strategy with your Exceptional Child that you think will not work? Never close the door on anything, as long as it is not something that will hurt your child of course. And if something worked when they were younger, don’t be afraid to fine tune and come back to it. Always go with your child’s flow. Praise their efforts. They will know when you really feel proud of them. And bask in their success with them. It means you got them that much closer to a life of independence and becoming contributing members of society as they deserve to be. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with Autism, ADHD, OCD  and Type 1 Diabetes is raising me to a better human being and exceptional mom. My mission is to empower other exceptional parents to trust in their parenting instinct while letting their exceptional child open their eyes to all that is possible! For more information on my coaching services and to download a copy of my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” see my website, http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com.


My Exceptional Son’s Joy and Rediscovery in Listening At Home


I don’t know how long this will last nor will I question it. I am just glad that Michael  is connecting listening to us and having good things happen to him again. Yes, before he would listen temporarily in order to get his tokens for audio visual or other things, but now I sense a real change in him. He is listening for distant rewards, like a McDonald’s Happy Meal in February to get another Sing figurine ,and long term listening to get a much coveted surprise over Spring Break almost a month and a half away. I worry about his continual “collecting of toys” and not wanting to play with them, but he also understands that he needs to work on doing chores to get his toys. He also is exploring interests other than navigating like video games and looking online on how to cook certain foods.

“The only reason I am sweeping the floor and helping in the house Mommy is to get my money and buy my toys.” He had the hysterical audacity to tell me the other day.

“Well, I am paying you to do this, but you are also learning about hard work Michael. We all need to pitch in to keep the house clean.”

“Because you and Daddy work?

“That’s right.”

I am proud at how he is drawing those comparisons and not afraid to work hard. He is also understanding more and more that when I need to work I can’t be disturbed in the late afternoons. Eventually, he will need an after-school program again some if not most days, but so far he is starting to adjust to changes in his routine, like staying home after school as Mom has to work longer hours. There has been less fighting, hitting and aggression. He will often say, “I am mad but I am not going to hit you Mommy.” I commend him for taking the higher road and encourage him to find healthy outlets for his anger. When he has caught me say the occasional swear word, it has been so funny to hear him correct me to use better language. It is wonderful to see him growing and the silly and negative behavior disappearing. I see how desperately he needs structure, guidelines and releases for sensory tensions. It is a work in progress, but we are getting there.

I also think what is working is Dad and I have finally found the formula of praise and showing him a good example to follow. He is beginning to see how when he listens, we pay attention and the good that comes of it. Being so busy, Dad and I forgot to touch base with him on that. It is important as a parent to cheer when your child succeeds. I also have started telling him, at least once a day if not multiple times, how much I love him. It is important for him to hear and me to say. He knows he is special to us as we are to him. There are times I don’t like how he is behaving, but I love him as a person.

Exceptional Parents, how good are your Exceptional Children at listening to you? When do you notice they challenge you most or least? What has worked for you? We have all made mistakes. That’s ok. We can learn from them, teach our kids and ourselves better, and be gentle with our words, our manners, and our language. Children will gravitate to that in a heartbeat and parents will often see a decrease in behaviors. Until next time.

Are you looking to make changes in your special needs parenting life? Do you need support on your journey?  I am a writer and parent coach who is passionate about empowering parents to trust their own instinct when raising their exceptional children with autism, and remembering that parenthood is as much a journey for us as childhood is for our children. For more information on my parent coaching programs, and to book a FREE 30 Minute Consultation Session, see my website: http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com. Special Offer: If you refer a friend and they sign up for one of my six month programs, you will receive 50% off of two individual coaching sessions with me.

Looking to make a fresh start in 2017 with the way you handle anxiety in your special needs family? Download my FREE EBOOK: “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com/EBOOKS