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Sunday, May 25, 2008


We all make associations all the time, where we connect one event or set of circumstances with another. I associate the arrival of Summer with sun burn, turning puce and spending many a happy hour peeling off strips of dead snake skin from my arms. I associate the holidays with Christmas pudding, hidden silver shillings to break teeth and a visit to the dentist. Some of the connections we make are faulty but they’re hard to shift once they’ve been experiencing. We learn through our unique experiences.

Teaching autistic children can be difficult because their motivations differ so greatly from the average child. It is because of this that frequently we need to use motivators that many other parents disapprove of quite strongly. Most people are on board with giving a child a piece of candy for successfully conquering potty training at a young age, commonly under 5 years old. These same people are less convinced by giving an older child an M&M for putting on one sock, ineptly. I suspect that it’s the back story that’s missing.

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1 comment:

Linda said...

I suppose that duct taping his clothes to his body would, in fact, keep his clothes on but it really wouldn't serve to un-learn the habit that you are trying to break him of.

This makes perfect sense to me as I know that there are things I do, or don't do, because of the anticipated result whether that result is real or imagined. Kind of like you and the Christmas pudding. Even if you know the probability of breaking a tooth again is extremely high, you're not willing to take the risk and it's hard to un-learn that habit - or fear.

Associations make perfect sense to me, I'd just never really given it a name before. Brilliant!

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