A word on motivation

August 18, 2009 at 6:00 am 6 comments

     Every once in awhile I get a reminder that C, more than other kids, needs to be motivated in order to do what we in the autism community call a “non-preferred activity.” He doesn’t understand why he should possibly have to put away his laundry, and comments, complains, and cries about it every single week despite the fact he knows he has to do it every single week.

     If the laundry is the bane of C’s existence at home, at school it’s writing. He doesn’t really like to write; it’s hard for him and he wants to push through it as quickly as possible. Last year, C’s teacher had the kids complete a brief writing assignment each morning while everyone was getting settled. She sent them all home, and they have been my joy to read. Generally he wrote one or two words, or perhaps even a sentence on a good day. 

     Yet one writing assignment in particular brought out a relative slew of information C simply had to impart. He covered all of the provided paper, front and back, with his stream of consciousness brain dump. It was my reminder how important it is to find the hook for C in order to get him fully engaged, and when that happens, watch out! The topic? The Civil War. The writing? As follows:    

     During the Civil War…“45,000 people were killed. The battle was in Virginia. 750,000 people joined the army. There were two other battles. Then Abe Lincoln made the Gettysburg address. He was the 16th President. The North won the war. 30,000 people didn’t die. The North won because of Ulysses S. Grant. The South won the first battles but then the North started winning. Lincoln was the President of the war. He got killed by John Wilkes Booth.”

Entry filed under: autism.

C-isms XVI So far, so good

6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Jesch  |  August 18, 2009 at 6:37 am

    I wish I could’ve seen his face when he read that prompt.

  • 2. robinaltman  |  August 18, 2009 at 5:40 pm

    I’m relieved that 30,000 people didn’t die. That’s a very nice optimistic way of looking at things. I think today’s reporters could take a lesson from C on how to look at the bright side of war.

  • 3. jlewicky  |  August 19, 2009 at 9:34 am

    WOW. You must be a very, very proud mama.

    Not for nothing, but typically developing Kate needs a lot of extra motivation to do her daily and weekly chores, also. Don’t get too discouraged about it.

  • 4. pixiemama  |  August 19, 2009 at 10:09 am

    Foster hates the writing, too. I’m looking at what C wrote and shaking my head in wonder at both how amazing he is and that, when the motivation was there, all that effort was inside him. Wow.

  • 5. therocchronicles  |  August 20, 2009 at 4:48 am


  • 6. mama edge  |  August 20, 2009 at 5:53 am

    What I wonder is, for things like laundry, do our kids EVER stop struggling against the inevitability of being forced to do a non-preferred activity? It is wearing me out.


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