Q & A: Rewards for Children

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Q: Why should I have to reward my child for every little thing? They should listen simply because I am the adult and they are the child.

A: Think of it this way, some children with Autism (and Developmental Disabilities) don’t acquire the same basic repertoire of skill sets that typical children acquire. Critical skill development begins at very early ages (0-48 months), and since Autism is currently on average diagnosed at age 4, children with Autism are often are already several years behind in their development (compared to typical, same age peers). 

Autism prevents children from attending to others (to imitate social behavior), communicating with others and typical language development, reading and understanding social cues (like disapproval and embarrassment), and oftentimes, sensory seeking behaviors monopolize the child’s attention and behavior. For this reason, we have to break skills down and present them to children with Autism systematically, and “reward” them in a way that is meaningful. This way, what is important to us, becomes important to our children too!