Let's rethink negative consequences!

It’s almost time for us to return to our schools, to our students, and to our therapy! That’s why I decide now is the time for this post. As we all know, kids have behaviors! Some behaviors are positive, some behaviors are negative, some are for avoidance, some are for attention, and some are for escape. 

Let me start by saying, this post is NOT about how to deal with behavior! This post is NOT about types of behavior! I thought long and hard about how I wanted to address this! I didn’t want to offend anyone or step on toes but, I decided I needed to say this! You don’t have to agree with me but, please respect my opinion!

Over many years in the schools, I’ve heard it over and over again! I’ve heard it from SLPs. I’ve heard it from graduate students. I’ve heard it from teachers. I’ve heard it from administrators. I’ve heard it from parents. I’ve even said it myself when I was at my wits end. What have I heard, you ask? I’ve heard....speech, language, and other educational skills being used as a negative consequence! Have you heard it?

“If you don’t stop ____ you are going do nothing but say your speech sounds!”

‘If you don’t stop ____ you are going to your desk and doing worksheets!”

“If you don’t stop.....”

What do all of those sentences have in common? Do you see it? Every sentence uses a positive thing (practicing speech sounds, practicing language skills, practicing classroom skills, etc.) as a negative consequence to behavior! 

We want our kids to practice these skills! We want our kids to make progress on these skills! We want our kids to enjoy working on these skills! A natural positive consequence of practicing is making progress! If we are using these skills as a negative consequence to behavior aren’t we contradicting ourselves? 

Am I saying there shouldn’t be consequences to behavior? Absolutely not! There are consequences to everything we do! What I am saying is that we need to become acutely aware of the way we are wording consequences. What is the real consequence?! The consequence may be “You will lose a turn.” If the child loses a turn it doesn’t necessarily mean he gets out of his skills practice, it just means he lost his turn! Instead of “If you cheat, you will not get to do anything but say your speech words.” couldn’t we say “If you cheat, you will lose your turn.” It’s the same thing...but, the negative consequence is actually a negative consequence instead of something that should be viewed as a positive. 

Have you heard it before? Have you been guilty of saying it yourself? It’s ok...but, from now on...think about the consequences! Make sure the negative consequences are truly negative consequences. Make sure the kids know that practicing and making progress is POSITIVE!

See you soon, 

Big Bug Surprise for Wild About Books Wednesday (Freebie)

It’s Wednesday...time for another “Wild About Books Wednesday” with Scarlett from Speech is Sweet! I love this linky party because I get to learn about so many new books! I hope that you enjoy learning about some books you have never heard of before, or at least getting some new therapy ideas for some great, old books. 
Today’s book is a favorite of the kids because it’s all about BUGS! Have you read Big Bug Surprise by Julia Gran? Prunella (the main character) tends to be a bit of a know it all...you know the person...the one who pesters and pesters with all of the knowledge. Well...Prunella drives everyone a little nuts but...she also saves the day! Join Prunella and Ms. Mantis for a day of show and tell. See what bug Prunella takes for show and tell...See how everyone reacts to Prunella...See what happens in the classroom...And, see how Prunella saves the day! 

How do I use this book in therapy?
  1. Comprehension: There are tons of questions that can be asked! Answer basic “wh” questions and you can even have the kids research the facts presented in the book. Can a dragonfly really fly 60 mph? Do queen bees really never fly alone?
  2. Pragmatic Skills: Talk about peoples reactions when you talk about one topic all the time. Talk about ways to make sure people don’t get annoyed with all your wonderful knowledge on a particular topic. Talk about patience. Talk about doing things to help others. 
  3. Prediction: Have the students guess what bug Prunella will take to school. 
  4. Articulation: Great /pr/ practice...her name is Prunella after all. 
  5. Categories: Use the freebie (click here) to categorize different “buggy categories”.

Hope you enjoy this book as much my little ones do! Head back over to Speech is Sweet to see who else linked up! 

See you soon!