“Cool” versus “Not Cool”
Children understanding appropriate versus inappropriate behaviors and correct versus incorrect responses are a fundamental aspect of intervention. When children can recognize these distinctions it can help change their performance. And when it can be taught in a fun way it can help motivate children them not only to acquire the information but to use it in their everyday life.
This discrimination can be used to teach a variety of concepts. We have used it to successfully teach children to reduce self-stimulation and acting out behaviors. Children have also learned pro social behaviors such as personal boundaries, recognizing when they are boring peers and empathy through this strategy. Voice modulation and even articulation have improved through “cool/not cool”.
There is nothing magic in the words “cool” or “not cool”! Use words that are appropriate for age, level of understanding or that are common used among peers. For example, you could use “good idea” vs. “not such a good idea” or “great” vs. “not so great”. Instead of words teachers could use thumbs up vs. thumbs down or a smiley face vs. a sad face.
This is part of a guest series by Autism Partnership founders Ron Leaf, John McEachin and Mitchell Taubmann. Established in 1994, Autism Partnership is one of the nation’s premier agencies dedicated to providing intensive behavior intervention for children with autism and their families. They offer a comprehensive program and a variety of proven services, including in-home, in-classroom and one-on-one, as well as lectures and workshops. All programs are handled by expert staff and tailored to each individual child, family and caregiver, with the goal of helping that child achieve their best life. For more information, visit www.autismpartnership.com.