We start school in early August. I was shooting for late September for Disney. I gave Mickey the goal of a 90 average for a behavior grade. He got a daily chart with check marks for good behavior in 20 areas, so we would average that out into a grade. We put a chart on the refrigerator and every night we would graph out the average. He had to be above the red line to go on the trip.
By this time we knew he was capable of a 90. That left him some wiggle room to account for bad days, but also required him to work hard. His teachers placed a Mickey sign on his desk and would give him reminders of what he was working towards. Mickey always responds better to a mix of both positive and negative consequences. We had tried token systems, with limited success. They would work great for a couple of weeks, but the currency has to continue to get larger, i.e. get 10 tokens you can get a $5 toy, has to be a $10 toy the second week or he would lose interest. Stickers and prize boxes at school worked ok, but with Mickey, we have to combine with negative consequences, because otherwise we are paying him to be good, and that gets expensive fast. Wherever possible we chose natural consequences – you refuse to wear a coat, you will be cold, if you break your DS, then the DS is gone until you have saved money for a new one, etc.
Mickey and Minnie both are far more interested in being outside than in front of technology. This is still true today. Mickey struggles with technology – he loves it, but it is very challenging to transition off of. He gets frustrated with the computer at school and loses computer time because he slams the keyboard or pushes his chair over. Mickey has a new teacher this year. She is young and sweet. Mickey doesn’t do well with young and sweet. He needs experienced and firm. But, Mrs. P is trying. They big issue is that she has embraced the school’s & county’s philosophy of positive behavior modifications only. So, when he acts out, he gets to earn back whatever privilege was removed. What Mickey takes from this is “I can do whatever I want, but I just have to straighten up before whatever it is I want to do”. Earn back is a nightmare for an Oppositional Defiance kid.
We were struggling with these issues while still working toward his Disney trip. Most days he brought home 90’s and 100’s for behavior. He saw the consequence of averages the day he brought home a 30. It took weeks to get it back up. And while overall his behavior was pretty good, we were starting to see a worrisome attitude with his teacher. He kicked a child in anger on a Tuesday. There was a class party scheduled for Friday. When I was called, I said the party should be pulled from him. She had already told him he could earn it back, So, Mickey being Mickey, he acted badly on Wednesday and Thursday, but had a great morning Friday. So, he was able to participate in the party. Mickey learned again, that it only matters what I do right before something I want.
But, in the end, we made it to his IEP meeting right before our trip. They said Mickey was ready to go back to his former school. While there were incidents here and there, he had a 90 average in behavior. That was pretty amazing for him. We started talking about working on a transition plan. He also earned his trip with a 91.3 average. So, we prepped for Disney and were leaving on Mickey’s birthday and a week after Minnie’s.