Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Is Bribery Wrong If It Works?

From the first day Ashley started school almost 12 years ago, she has loved riding the bus. She almost skips out to the bus each morning, and is reluctant to get off each afternoon.

And that reluctance is currently a problem.

The bus ride from high school to home is very short. Ashley is used to longer bus rides, and is somewhat miffed at the short ride. So her strategy is to not get up out of her seat and get off the bus. Maybe she’s hoping no one will notice.

Understandably, the bus drivers get a little impatient with her. They have a schedule to keep, and I know the parents of the other children on the bus will worry if the bus is late. So, since asking Ashley nicely to get off the bus and then using the ‘mom voice’ to demand she get off the bus wasn’t working, I had to come up with another strategy. Enter the ‘Bus Bribe Box’.

I had the idea that perhaps Ashley could be lured (bribed) to stand up and get off the bus if an interesting object, an object I thought she would really like, was dangled in front of her. It has worked like a charm!

So each afternoon, Miss Amy (Ashley’s intervener) selects an object from the “Bus Bribe Box" and heads to meet Ashley’s bus. Whether it is the object itself or just that it is something ‘new’, it doesn’t matter. It is working and working well!

There is a time and a place for bribery!

Today I am thankful for Ashley's new wheelchair. Thank you adoption agency for subsidizing her new 'ride'!


Corrie Howe said...

Ah, yes! Bribery. It is a stable in our house.

Dalya said...

why not think as encouragement that home is happier than bus :P


Marla said...

I have done this as well to encourage M.

It works and usually she eventually does not need the object for transition.

Once she gets used to the shorter ride I bet she will not need the cool bus object anymore. It sure sounds like a great idea for helping her leave the bus.

Janet said...

The technical term is reinforcement ;-) It is used all the time with kids with autism. It can even be part of a visual schedule.