As progress is made in the understanding of children whose brains develop differently, there is one area that continues to be problematic: the assumption that when a child is challenged behaviorally, the parents must not parent or the child is just being “difficult.” But for a parent who has tried all the “tried and true” methods with no results, the backstory is quite different.
The reality is, that for a child with developmental delays in executive functioning or maturational issues, the need for scaffolding and appreciating the baby-steps is incredibly important. If we heard that a teacher would not allow a child who is behind in reading to go to recess until they could read on grade-level, why would we do that to a child who has executive functioning delays that affects their impulse control. Of course, the issues need to be addressed, but I can promise you that a child who is repeating maladaptive behavior and receiving negative results isn’t in it for attention. And they certainly don’t enjoy it! Could it be that a fresh perspective is needed when looking at our frequent flier behavior challenges?
Many children who struggle with behavior challenges or organization simply do not connect the dots and they desperately need someone to come along side them to help them do it. Much like a structure under construction, they need behavioral scaffolding. And they need to know their small successes are just as important as the kids who get Student of the Month. So, be that person. Help them connect the dots. If tried and true consequences aren’t working for a kid, quit doing that and look outside the behavior chart box.
When you teach you touch the future and that is a pretty amazing place to be! For ideas on how to reach children in the classroom that are having trouble connecting the behavior dots, contact me for coaching and professional development opportunities at firstname.lastname@example.org