Menopausal mom to 2 young adult sons (one with ASD, ADHD, tic/seizure disorders and the other with attitude).

Monday, 8 December 2014

Learning to Offer Choices

*Disclaimer: Strategies/techniques used in Riley World are ones that work for Riley and his family and are not necessarily viable for other individuals/families.

Long, long ago in a far away world lived a little boy named Riley. He was a sweet, happy-go-lucky boy…*cue scratching sound of vinyl record*wait…ummm…that was as long as things went his way.

One of the biggest challenges for Riley and his family was communication. Acquiring language was difficult for R. This led to a great deal of frustration and in turn challenging behaviours (self-hitting, verbal outbursts and tic-like muscle movements).

Along came Riley’s Fairy Godmother and Mr. Brown (a Behavioural Consultant) who worked with the family to help them understand the ways of Riley World. One of the first strategies/techniques they recommended was to give R choices. They said it would empower Riley to have some control over decision-making thereby diffusing possible triggers for meltdowns. The parental units were somewhat sceptical until they witnessed the positive results.

Sure there were growing pains. Offering choices that would be acceptable to all did not come easy at first…especially for the mother unit. In her mind it was impractical to wear sandals/shorts in the winter. Pick one’s battles indeed however in order to maintain peace and order in Riley World the entire population would need to be in agreement.

Thus began the evolution of the choices “game”.

·         Initially both choices would be things that Riley liked/wanted.
Eg. Do you want to wear blue shorts or black shorts?

·         Next came one preferred choice; the other…well…not.
Eg. Do you want to wear blue shorts or blue pants?

Gradually the mother unit caught on and with experience began to offer choices that would not only broaden Riley’s acceptance of change but would also ultimately result in an outcome that satisfied her. Hey. It was a technique that worked well (for both R and J2) in those early years. Eventually “Choices: The Second Edition” was introduced.

·         Both choices probably not desirable to Riley yet moving towards change.
Eg. Do you want to wear blue pants or black pants?

Of course there was balking and verbal outbursts. Miracles only happen on 34th Street my friends yet the meltdowns were reduced significantly enough that persevere they did.   

Years passed. Meltdowns waned. The mother unit was hooked on this concept.  

Fast forward to 2014.

The choices game is still in play but gone are the days when the mother unit was able to outsmart Riley. This became very apparent at the start of Operation IFO. Riley has developed negotiating skills and shown signs of a typical teenage sloth (ie. you do it for me even if it means having to choke down a hamburger).

Looks like I am going to have to up my game.  :P


  1. They figure us out quick don't they?

  2. Mine are the same really. Every time I think I have them figured out - know exactly how to find their "currency": they go and change it on me. ugh.
    then again, hubby says I do the same to him. but honestly, that's just fun. ;)