Why do I have to tell you every day to brush your teeth? Turn off the TV! I said no electronics in the morning! Where are your shoes? How come we are always late leaving for school?
Is this your home? Are you pulling your hair out trying to get your autistic spectrum child or teen out the door? Here are some tips for using a reward system to reach your morning goals:
1. The daily reward should not be an “all or nothing” reward but a graduate reward. Weekly rewards by themselves are too far away to motivate a student with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). However, if you keep track of their the daily rewards earned, you might use those minutes earned as points for tokens to an arcade or movie bucks to buy popcorn and a drink, etc. This is cool because they can use their points twice!
2. Also, it’s important for children and teens to have a daily reward for their morning routine, after school routine and before bed routine. For instance, if they are six years old, neurological research suggests 30 minutes of electronics time with 150 minutes of socialization each day. So they could earn 10 minutes of electronics for their evening routine (two min for each item on their dry eraser board), 10 min for their morning routine and 10 minutes for their after-school routine.
3. To help with your morning routine, it’s important to have a set routine so your child knows what is expected!
4. Have a dry eraser board with a checklist of items for the morning, after school and evening routine.
5. Allow them to earn two to five minutes of electronics time for each item completed.
a. Another option for middle school and high school students is if they get all checklist items done before the “set time to leave,” then they can take their iTouch or Smart Phone device to school that day.
b. Of course, they need to check on their electronic devices when they get home to do their homework.
c. Once evening or after dinner chores/tasks are checked off their list, then they can use their earned electronics time.
They get to use their electronics time after dinner but needs to be turned off one hour before going to bed. This allows the brain time to calm down and get set for their REM cycles.
Adolescent Expert, Jim West, MA, LMHC, President of Total Life Counseling Center and author of the StressLess Series offers expert advice to local and national TV news and schools internationally and provides phone or face-to-face counseling in the Orlando area. Jim is an Author, Communicator, School Consultant, Nationally Certified and State Licensed Counselor and specializes in counseling for autism spectrum disorder (ASD), attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD) and oppositional defiance disorder (ODD). He holds Social Skills Groups, Overnight Summer, Spring and Winter Social Skills Camps for ADHD and ASD and Jim has been interviewed for multiple national TV, radio, magazine and newspaper articles. He is president of Total Life Counseling Center and his Total Life approach accelerates the therapeutic & healing process by relating to children, adolescents and adults and incorporating wellness. Jim’s clients travel from all over Florida, England, Georgia, Cayman Islands, Central and South America and the Bahamas as he has been able to treat clients with ASD, ADHD, anxiety, mood disorders, depression and more with FDA approved supplements and dietary modifications. Eighty-five percent of his clients have not needed medication or used less medication than when they first came to Total Life Counseling Center.
This article was featured in Issue 51 – School: Preparing Your Child for Transition