Writing myself a new car

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I honor of the World Autism Awareness Day 2017: I have reward systems for myself and my two sons with autism. The principles are as follows:

  • Reward the behavior we want more of. Don’t reward required activities, but reward when we choose to do help with chores. Ignore when we choose not to, do not remove credits.
  • Rewards are things you would not get otherwise. Verbal praise and encouragement are given even so. You have to earn it – and get it when you finalize (a deal is a deal).
  • We use token economy and postponed gratification. Training for the mash mellow test improves forward thinking.
  • Rewards are usually LEGO. Specific piece request from Bricklink.  Every token/mark is a ten’er (DKR 10).

The boys (13+11) have been rewarded for doing the dishes, preparing food, taking out the garbage etc. Initially 15 tokens gave a trip to McDonalds, but as mastering progressed the rewards became bigger. One time 50 tokens/marks was needed for a reward. The options to help (“The Mark Menu”) was at one point over 20 chores. Over time they lost interest in saving but did the chores anyway, so some of the chores where made required. One day the oldest added “Do not fight” to the list of required (non-rewarding) activities 😉 Next up is to save for a game on Steam..

I’m being rewarded every time I run (5K, outside. Half a mark for treadmill), for my morning exercises and a few other thing I struggle with. I have just finished a sheet of 140 marks that I worked on since September 2016). The new target is to buy myself first a Bugatti and then a McLaren. Not a new minivan..

I am going to write myself a new car

I hope this drives the right behavior

Similar posts on leadership and praise at work: In a star team – the team gets the starsI know it is your job – but thank you anyway

Similar posts on autism: Pragmatic choices of what is important and possibleStakeholders,

Similar posts on drive and motivation: More than carrots and sticks, 16 points that may rock the boat

Read for your kids – special interest edition

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If you are a parent to (early) school children you should know that it is important to read  to your kids. Reading the words out trains vocabulary, recognition, imagination, wondering etc etc. So I read subtitles from movies… because

The boys currently have Star Wars as their special interest [1], and wanted to see the “people” movies. The have played the scenes via the LEGO Video Games (GC) and have a range of the LEGO sets – so they had the basic plot already. Feature movies like Star Wars are usually subtitled in Denmark – while animation movies are dubbed [2]. So in order both to keep up with “PG” [3] and helping them read the titles – I get to watch the movies and read the subtitles…

Poor daddy, it’s almost as hard as when he has to finish the ice cream they can’t 😉

In the last months the (soon to be) 9yo have cracked the reading code and have gone from LIX11 books to the shorter subtitles. The 11yo have rest covered, but some of the longer texts are tricky (I’m looking at you – opening Scroll).

2015-04-04 16.51.08

I tried reading Harry Potter (in Danish) but even if the story was very elaborate and detailed it didn’t catch their interest. Neither did classics from when I was a kid (Sorry Bjarne Reuter), so I had to rethink the acceptance criteria for “read for your kids“.

See these two boys are not as easily motivated – it has to tie into something they can see a direct interest in. Their autism makes them very picky on the choice of subject. What I try is to meet them where they are, expand their competencies and give them a lot of positive feedback until they master it on their own.

Links: The yardstick of mythical normalityAcceptance is more than what can be measured

  1. special interest, as in overly dedicated into the topic and cannot talk about anything else.
  2. The Danish “dubbers” are usually world class, luckily.
  3. Episode 3 is still to come, though.

Pragmatic choices of what is important and possible

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[ Master thesis about fathers to a child with autism ]

To have a child with autism is a continuing and constantly changing process of experience. The fathers collect experiences along the way with this different family-life, which did not turn out as they expected it  to. They live a pressured and unpredictable daily life, of which they use metaphors such as “war zone” and “marathon”. They often have to take one day at a time, and in periods of their life one can argue, that it is more survival than actually collecting experience.
It is very important for the fathers to be a good father. They all place a high value on children and family. Although they fulfill the role as a father in the Danish societal sense, it shows that the choices they make through the process, and what they value in proportion to being a good father, is very different. The analysis shows, that their road is shaped by pragmatic choices of what is important and possible.

dad blackbelt

People are people – despite their labels

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I generally despise the “despite” in the following sentences

I’d rather we use a child with autism, a child with ADHD, a person with asperger… A mother, a woman, a Dane, a black person – a person. Children with a diagnosis is so much more than the diagnosis – they are children. People are so much more that their labels, they are people first – labels second.

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See also:
https://jlottosen.wordpress.com/2012/04/03/they-are-just-people/
https://jlottosen.wordpress.com/2012/03/24/har-du-set-en-med/
https://jlottosen.wordpress.com/2012/01/27/the-geeks-and-nerds-syndrome/

They are just people

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When you have met one child with XYZ, you have met one child. That also goes for children without labels and letters. Behind the letters (ADHD, ASD, Red hair, Dark skin, …) – they are all children, as we are all grownups.. and humans. We might be somewhat alike, but we are also different.

Stigma and the “Othering” of Autism | Published on April 1, 2012 by Lynne Soraya in Asperger’s Diary on the UN World Autism Awareness Day ]

If my autism had been recognized as a child, and I heard someone say, “I hate autism.” I would certainly have felt it to my core. The logic here is simple; I would think as follows: If “autism = bad,” and “me = autistic”, then “me = bad” must be true.

For me, autism means I have certain traits that can be very disabling in some conditions. However, if supported correctly, and in the right environments, a great many of them be turned to advantages. I attribute the bad things that have happened to me not so much on the traits themselves, but ignorance (myself and others’) of them.

If a person is autistic, autism goes with them wherever they go. If autism is something to be hated and feared, hate and fear will follow too. In the scope of things, it’s fear that is the most damaging. Don’t teach people to fear your child. 

Let’s all work together to help others to see that people (with autism) are just that, people. They are different, but not less. They are nothing to fear. 

They are just people

My bold and parenthesis. See also   Lidt autist har man nemlig lov at være

Geeks and Nerds by xkcd.com

Geeks and Nerds by xkcd.com