Intrinsically Enjoyable Activities
Building in intrinsically enjoyable activities as “curricula” in your child’s life
Have you ever thought to yourself, “I wish my child was as interested in their school work as they are in playing a video game?” Well… we have the “technology” to do that… and we need to do that for many students to prosper.
We now live in the “iPad generation,” which means many people who in the past would have had no interest in school work or their own therapy can now be reached with built-in excitement — or “intrinsic interest.” Kids in classrooms that use Smartboards are able to pay attention to lessons that in the past would have been simply ignored as they daydream the day away. Individuals diagnosed with Autism are able to access and interact with lessons precisely because they can interact and control a device that makes sense to them. The iPad Generation enters their education with options never before seen.
One of the inherent flaws in how many practitioners utilize Positive Reinforcement in the lives of children that they work with is that they set up a “work first, then play” dynamic. What I mean by that, is that children get the message that they have to do the dreary hard work first and only then, after they have earned it, can they have fun with favorite activities (i.e., rewards).
But ask yourself the question…
“… how would my child do if the ‘work’ wasn’t dreary, and it involved his or her most fun activities?”
People who truly excel at what they do create educational opportunities, careers and lives based on what they love to do. Why shouldn’t our children’s educations also be based on what they love to do?
Children can prosper if those of us in the roles of teachers, parents or therapists can think of educational activities that include fun things to do! If this sounds unrealistic, consider how much better many children will respond to educational or therapeutic activities that include the use of technology (i.e., Computers, iPads, video, Smartboards, etc.), music, movement or other activities specifically interesting to your child.
This doesn’t mean that children would be exempt from learning things that they find uninteresting or tough… not all education will be fun. But the question is, how do you link the tough activities to things that a child finds “inherently interesting?” We can be much better at doing this.
Part of an ADA approach to working with children is developing an “interest inventory” and building curricula around those interests — this is what creates “intrinsic reward” in participating in ones own education and therapy.