With Chelsea, there are several things that she HATES to do:
- Take her vitamins
- Help clean
- Practice her speech
I have had to find creative ways of getting Chelsea to do what I need her to. For example, with her vitamins, Chelsea has several vitamins/ medications that she needs daily or twice daily. Hiding them in food does not work. Ever. She ALWAYS finds it. So, I developed other methods that work about 80-90% of the time:
- Let her choose a princess dolly to hold the vitamin and put it in her mouth
- Start a short video (usually Super Why, Signing Time, or Max and Ruby), then pause after 1-2 minutes and say "Oh, I forgot! First vitamins, then video!" She is so transfixed on the video that she will eat anything
- Have a princess dress/ crown/ shoes, and tell her that once she eats the vitamin, she will change into a princess. Then take her to the mirror to admire herself
- Make everyone take one. Like multi-vitamins at breakfast, we take turns- brother takes one, Mommy takes one, then it is Chelsea's turn. If she is grumpy, I will let her feed me mine, then I get to give her one.
- Reverse psychology! I love that this still works on her. I will say, "Whatever you do, DO NOT eat this! It is really ______" and make up something that she loves. She will start giggling and eat it
With cleaning, I have rules that she has to make her bed in the morning (mostly she arranges her stuffed animals and tries to spread her blanket. It is a work in progress), and help with "power hour" around dinner time. She is also in charge of helping tidy up the room she shares with her brother before she goes to bed.
- Work it into a routine! She has a great morning routine that she puts happy faces up on a chart for each time she completes a task.
- Use a first/ then chart. We had to teach her how to use this, and start small. But now she is at the point where she knows if she competes X, she gets Y
- Practice counting. I will tell her that after she picks up 10 things, I will pick up ten. She will sulk and pout, but loves completing her turn and telling me which items to pick up and put away
- Make her dolly "clean up", where she makes the dolly pick up each item and put it away. I use hand over hand with her, and she likes being "in charge" of making her dolly work
- Pretend. We pretend to be Cinderella cleaning up, or pirates swabbing the deck, etc.
- Put on music she likes, and turn it off when she stops cleaning
Practicing speech is a big deal! She has plateaued lately, since she has been focusing on learning to read, but we still do our practice diligently. If nothing else, she will know that we expect her to talk, even if she isn't progressing right now. Some ways to make her work:
- Do pivot phrase play-based therapy!. Nancy Kaufman was a pro at this, like "Go ni-night, Elsa" and put Elsa in bed, then "Go ni-night Minnie Mouse", multiply by 15! Choose a pivot phrase you want your child to work on "I want" or "More ___ please"
- Play dumb. When Chelsea isn't speaking as well as she can, I act like I have no idea what she wants, and say "What? Say it again, please!" until she gets it right. She gets frustrated by my "incompetence", but will say her words over and over, because she knows I won't give her what she wants until she does.
- Have her be the teacher. Just like with making her dolly clean, Chelsea likes being in charge and feeling powerful. Have her teach me to say a word over and over. She thinks it is HILARIOUS when I get it wrong, but I have to be careful not to make it too silly, or I can't recover her to work.