Sunday, June 17, 2012

Giving Alphabet Soup Kids Responsibility

Coming soon.... E.'s snack shop!
Photo by Stuart Miles

My son's therapist is constantly pushing for him to have more responsibility.  She believes (and I agree) that he needs more opportunities to rise to the challenge.  She wants to see this in his home life and at his school.  At an IEP meeting, she advocated for him to be given small tasks around the school (like delivering messages to teachers and setting up for science classes).  The goal was to make him feel useful and productive.  He really thrives on praise, and, unfortunately, he just never seems to get that much of it.

The tasks at school never seemed to pan out, and it seems like whenever I try to give him responsibility at home, he is happy for awhile, then starts to melt down over it.  Take the fish tank.  He desperately wanted a fish tank, and his grandmother bought him a 10-gallon tank setup and gave him a gift card to Pet Smart to buy fish.  We had a "discussion" about it this morning because he has started forgetting to feed the fish and turn off the light at night.  Of course, the discussion was mostly me lecturing him while he squealed in anger at me.

I hate having discussions with him.

At his last appointment with his therapist, she came up with a rather unique way for him to learn more responsibility.  The office has a little snack shop that has fallen into disuse.  She is having him revamp it and turn it into a small business project.  That's right -- my son is becoming an entrepreneur!  She gave him $40 as a start-up loan and promised to check in with the others who share the office to get a list of what they would like to see in the shop.

This morning I received the list, and I will go over it with him this evening to come up with a list of supplies to get from the store and determine how he can get the most bang for those 40 bucks.  We'll go shopping for his supplies this week.  Maybe this weekend he can get some "angel investors" from the grandparents.

I think this is really a great opportunity for him.  He is absolutely thrilled by the idea (plus he gets to keep the profits after restocking and paying back the loan).  It's a good, simple introduction into the business world and managing money.  It's a reasonable level of responsibility, and if he feels overwhelmed, he can walk away from it.  It's a math lesson.  It's learning about supply and demand.  It requires organization.

I think this is brilliant, and I will keep you posted on how it turns out.

How do you give your Alphabet Soup Child responsibility?

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