Using motivators to help those with Autism or Down syndrome succeed

As a mother of two Susan Ellis - head shotchildren with Autism, I have used many ways to motivate my children to stay on task, complete their homework, and behave appropriately.   One thing that always works is finding out what THEY are wanting on that day. Finding their “carrot” is always a more fun and positive path to accomplishment.

Traditional motivators could be something like stickers, food “treats”, or even a trip to the “treasure chest” filled with items from a dollar store. You could also extend the reward slightly by making a visual chart. For instance, place a check mark for each time they correctly go to the bathroom. Three check marks = their reward. I recently even used this extended reward system for my son (high functioning Autism) in middle school when we were trying to motivate him to stay on task in class (see chart below).

My friend has a child with Down syndrome who loves to simply spend time with mommy. There is your reward and motivator! Help him through his homework using this idea. Reward him for practicing his spelling words by offering to dance with him to his favorite music, or do a quick puzzle.

  • Choose the reward or motivator to be something they really want to work for.
  • Make a visual of this “offer” so they see exactly what they need to do to earn it.
  • Make it attainable in a reasonable amount of time. (Note: younger children need a reward more immediately; older children are better able to handle a slightly extended reward system.)

Using motivators also works well with teaching children handwriting–especially those with special needs that need…an extra carrot.

img015For more information about The TV Teacher’s award-winning handwriting programs, please visit our website: www.thetvteacher.com