Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Red Words, Green Words

A couple of weeks ago James's teachers came up with Red Word and Green Word lists at school to help him with his "contracts" or token economy system. He is pretty good about communicating his intentions; they aren't merely threats, it's him talking aloud and planning out his actions. Rather than just blurting out inappropriate threats when he is frustrated or doesn't get his way, the teachers hope that they can get him to choose more appropriate behaviors.

Most autistic kids tend to fixate on certain things. Although James likes things like toy cars, it almost seems as if one of his stronger fixations involve the social system of rewards, consequences (punishment), and to a lesser extent, people's reactions. It isn't just negative attention-seeking. He tends to announce his behavior and mulls over what he is going to do, over and over again, and sometimes you can hear him talking himself in and out of behavior he knows to be inappropriate. This leads to inconsistent, unpredictable, and sometimes manipulative behavior. The following is a transcript of James's Red Word/Green Word List--a simple Social Story. He understands it quite well and is even saying them out loud as I type this. He also finds great humor in teasing that he'll "use red words in school."


Red Word List for James

James should not use Red Words at school. If James uses Red Words, there are consequences like no WOW [recess], no lunch for with friends, thinking time [time out], more independent work and no special toys, cars, or puzzles.


[Consequence:] Go to Mr B's room.


Green Word List for James

Teachers and students are happy when James uses Green Words instead of Red Words. If James uses Green Words only, there are special prizes like surprise box, treasure chest, special treats, cars, puzzles, and extra computer time.

Be nice to friends
Say hi to friends
I need a break
I feel mad
I don't like it
Please stop

[Consequence:] Stay in classroom.


James has dozed off already, but he enjoyed reading this. I guess this still counts as reading or story time.


Blogger MommaistheBoss said...

I find your blog facinating. As a mother of two young children I always love to hear what other families are going through.

10:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you heard of "Red and Green Choices"? http://www.redandgreenchoices.com

9:13 PM  
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