What do you do when nothing is working?

(One minute read)


A 6-year-old child who has a visual disability has been taking away his friend’s stuff and hiding those items. This is going on for a few weeks. The social skills teacher wanted him to learn perspective-taking skills and tried taking his things away so that he can experience the feeling of frustration, anger, etc. and understand how his friends feel, but to no avail. He continues to do it…

 Now What????


Teaching perspective-taking skills is super important. Sometimes, letting a child experience what others feel is an effective way to give a child the perspective of others, hence the “UnGolden Rule” (which I wrote about in a previous blog post.) However, if it doesn’t work, I like to go back to the drawing board.

What does that mean? Whenever I’m not exactly sure why a child is doing what he’s doing, I take a piece of paper, and ask the child to “LIST FOR ME ALL THE REASONS WHY…” I then write down every reason he states (even silly ones), and keep rereading the list to him as we add on more items.

For example, I’d ask the child…

  • What are all your reasons for taking your friend’s things and hiding them?
  • What are all the reasons why you don’t want to go to camp?
  • What are all the reasons why you don’t want to do homework when you get home?
  • What are all the reasons why you don’t want to shower at night?

Once I have all the reasons, I can start working on solving some of them. For some children, just being really heard and validated is enough to make them cooperate. For other children, even just solving 4 or 5 of the 11 reasons is enough to make them do what you ask them to do. And in some cases, I discover that the child needs to learn specific skills to cope with the problem, and that becomes my next goal.

Wishing you a successful week!


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