Is anything going in?

(One minute read)

My 9-year-old male student is resistant to try to incorporate any of the strategies he’s been taught. I’ve been continuing to work with him with the hope and belief that something has to be going in. Am I right to assume this? I can’t physically make him compliment his peers, etc…

What to do???


Ideally, from a behavioral therapy vantage point, we want to be able to measure and see progress. If the child is not making any changes whatsoever, it behooves us to examine whether we should continue working with the child or not.

One suggestion is to increase the size of the reward so that the child’s motivation to try the behavior increases. Also, the child may have some anxiety and be too anxious to attempt social interactions. If so, the anxiety should be addressed directly (by a therapist who specializes in anxiety).

At the same time, sometimes we know a child’s personality from past experience, and we’ve discovered that despite that they “appear” not to be taking it in, the information is percolating in their brain and at some point they will start using it.

For example, I was the social skills teacher for a special education class of girls. When the girls became preteens, they got tired of doing social skills lessons weekly and were not interested in cooperating. I changed things up a bit and did fun and funny weekly red and green skits with the teachers and assistants in the classroom. I asked the students to be my photographers and videographers, with which they happily complied.

Ultimately, they learned a great deal of social skills that year just from watching the staff practice and perform the skits. We also uploaded the new skits each week onto the computers in the classroom, and when students were finished with their classwork, they were allowed to go to the computers in back of the room. Most of the time, they were watching the skits (again).

Despite that it appeared that my students weren’t learning social skills actively, the information was going in. Eventually, they used what they learned.

By the way, this is especially true for preteens and teens!

Have a creative and successful week!


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