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Thursday, September 21, 2006

Special Kids, Special Needs: Tools, Part 1


Wow, two weeks flies, doesn’t it? :-D I have to say – I love being a part of this blog. When I posted last time, I was asked to show/explain some of the tools I use in dealing with my unique boys. The first and most pivotal tool I used for them is called the Penny Card. This is a simple “token” method for my boys to monitor their behavior. It worked so amazingly well, that even my boys loved it! For the most part, I no longer have to use it. However, there are times (like vacation, trips, or when I leave them with a babysitter) that we do use them. It’s very simple to use. I’m inserting a picture of it.

What It’s Made Of:. It is made from a baseball card protector (hard plastic). I’ve printed my son’s name and inserted it into the sleeve. On the top and bottom rows are the fuzzy round Velcro dots (make sure they are non-sew version LOL). Along the top row, are pennies, which have been backed with the matching Velcro mate.

How it works: All pennies start at the top. As your child works through tasks, say a worksheet or picking up toys without being asked, allow THEM to move one penny to the bottom row. Once all pennies have moved to the bottom, your child has earned a ‘reward.’ This can be time playing with a favorite toy, a treat, or anything that is important to YOUR child. When you notice ease of movement through the five pennies moving, then up the ante. Tell your child, they must now earn TEN pennies, which means they must move the pennies back to the top to earn their break (this is also appropriate for those with longer attention spans).

I say it’s important for a child to move their own penny because this is one way they see TANGIBILITY of their behavior/action/obedience. My boys were quite proud to be able to move their pennies. It also allowed Ryan, who struggles with my Asperger’s tendencies than his brother, to know the structure of his day. Five pennies, a break. Five more, another break. This really works for him.

This method was taught to me during my internship with the Child Study Center in Fort Worth, TX. It is a facility staffed with some of the most amazing teachers and caregivers I have ever met. I learned so much—and this experience transformed my life.

Remember, our special needs children do not function the way the majority of other children do. It *is* okay to reward behavior. It is *NOT* bribing them, because bribing imbues a dishonest intent. Your intent is to help your child transform and manage their behavior. This card is one way to give them a VISIBLE and TANGIBLE marker of how they are doing. I hope this helps someone.

Blessings in Christ,


Ronie Kendig is a mother of four children, ages 13, 10, & 6 year old twins. She homeschools, attends college, and is a writer. Married to Brian, her husband of 16 years, Ronie yearns to help other mothers who are struggling with special needs children. Visit her at her blog: Supernatural Craving or her website


Kari Z. Murphy said...

Thank you so much for sharing this idea. It sounds simple enough I might even be able to use it! Seriously! The reason my husband and I (both ADD'er) don't usually use rewards and systems is because *we* are so distractible and lack follow-through and we don't keep up with them - which can lead to real bitterness in the hearts of our girls (also ADD'ers).

But I think we might be able to use this idea. Thank you! I really enjoyed going back and reading your post before this one.

I have a real passion to minister to other moms of children with "special needs," too.

In Christ alone,

Blog Team,

Heather said...

This is actually fairly similar to the tag and hook job chart we jst made and is working out in a similar fashion, because I don't have to be responsible for moving them. The kids are proud to see their tags moving to the "I Did It" hook and my husband can check, at a glance, on who has finished what. (This is working so well that Rachel finished all her work by breakfast this morning!)