Friday, May 31, 2013

Puzzle Piece Rewards System

Weeks of sticker charts!
DLTK's Custom Chore Charts!
For a long time, we have been doing the typical sticker chart to encourage Ethan to use manners, maintain good hygiene and become more independent. After a sticker chart was completed, Ethan would get $1 for his bank. That worked for awhile but then the novelty wore off. Getting a sticker for brushing his teeth was no longer worth it to him....and the battles returned.

So, we began to up the ante! Each night, we would count his stickers & he would earn 1 coin per sticker. And when his sticker chart was full, he would still earn a dollar.

Want to know a secret? I would just re-use coins already in his bank, so it didn't cost us any extra money. Shhhh....don't tell Ethan!

Well, that worked for awhile, but soon that began to wear off too. The battles were beginning to start again....fighting to brush teeth, fighting to self dress, and I was losing my currency with Ethan!

24 piece puzzle from Dollar General. 
And, once again, the Changing Challenging Behaviors Workshop from Easter Seals came through for us!!! Ms. Dona, leader of the workshop & Ethan's ITAP program, showed the class several strategies & examples. Corey & I immediately knew that we had found our solution.....puzzles.

How do puzzles work in place of a sticker chart? For every demonstration of desired behavior, Ethan earns one puzzle piece....instead of one sticker. Once Ethan has completed a puzzle, he gets to pick a prize/toy out of the prize bin I've put together. Things from the dollar store, happy meal toys, garage sale finds....nothing that costs more than $1 each. ETHAN LOVES IT!!!!

In the middle of a puzzle!
Almost time for a trip to the prize bin!
It has been working longer than anything we have tried before! He loves gaining a puzzle piece, loves putting the puzzles together, loves digging for toys in our prize bin! Initially, I was cutting up the cardboard boxes of his fruit snacks, cereal, pop tarts, and other recognizable logos. But once Ethan got the hang of it, we needed to go to more puzzle pieces so he wasn't earning a toy EVERY day. 

I am thrilled to report that this is STILL going VERY well, and he loves earning puzzle pieces!!! Now our battles are diminishing! Picking up toys, brushing teeth, turning off the computer, trying new foods, behavior in new places, and other issues are able to be a managed so much better with this new form of "currency." HOORAY FOR PUZZLES!

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