WE WILL TREAT EVERYONE IN OUR HOUSE WITH RESPECT AT ALL TIMES!
We have instituted a new rule here in the Rogers household. While it is not earth shattering, I believe it is a necessary character trait to learn.
Jesus tells us in Matthew 22: 37-40 (NIV)
37Jesus replied: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'[b] 38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'[c] 40All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
While I have been blessed with children who get along very well with each other and enjoy playing together, there are still times when respect is in short supply. This holds true for Michael and I as well. It’s a character trait that will be learned by the whole family. Character is essential to work on with children. I would dare say that it is more important to work on than academics
This can be a difficult concept for a child with autism. I would certainly not have dreamed of attempting it when Logan was developmentally not ready. When Logan was finishing up Stage 4 in RDI, it meant that we had filled in the developmental gaps so that he can pretty much do what a typical 4 almost 5 yr old can do. I would expect to teach this rule to a typical child at that age. It is really not a stretch to expect it out of Logan.It is a perfect opportunity to teach it to both children at the same time. What I will need to do though is to model, scaffold, and spotlight ALOT!
By modeling it , I show both children how to successfully do it in any situation. When you have a child with autism, the old adage “do what I say and not what I do ” goes out the window. Children with autism are so concrete in their thinking that it would not make sense to them to say that. Therefore, I must walk the walk if I am going to talk the talk. I have to show respect to them and others if they are going to learn it. This does not mean that I am not still in control. God made me a steward of these children and He tells me in
Proverbs 22:6 (NIV)
” Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.”
Just as God disciplines me when I sin and turn from Him, I must teach and discipline when they get it wrong too. But I can do it with love and respect. Not everything has to be a teaching session either.
Scaffolding and spotlighting go hand in hand. By scaffolding, I take a situation and break it down into manageable steps so that Logan (or Madison, it will work on either) will be successful. This makes him feel more competent thus increasing his self confidence and creating a positive episodic memory. This will then make it much more likely that he will try it on his own and want to get better at it. As his competence increases, you add more steps to the scaffold until he can do it successfully on his own without your guidance.
Spotlighting is simply slowing the exchange way down, scaffolding as needed, then stamping it on his memory that he was successful. This can be done with a high five, a thumbs up, or quite simply a smile. Logan has become quite adept at referencing us and responds well to non verbal praise. This has been quite refreshing to experience. You don’t want to praise incessantly or frivolously. Just when I absolutely want him to remember it. Praise becomes meaningless when doled out frivolously. This is true for all children not just ones with autism.
This character trait will be ingrained into their psyches by consistent adherence to the family respect rule. Day in and day out adherence in all situations. I am not saying grace can’t be extended in extreme circumstances. I am saying that consistency is key for this character trait to become second nature to the children. We all want our children to become mighty men and women of God with strong morals. Make it a priority in your homeschool. You won’t regret it.
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