How many times do we hear , say or think to ourselves after a behavior that , my child was impulsive, I acted without thinking , I didn't have a choice, I jumped to a conclusion, I just couldn't wait etc. These types of behaviors tend to fall into reactive behaviors. They tend to be unconscious reactions which are swift , involve little planning and often do not involve much decision making or feelings of choice. Reactive behaviors can be driven by emotions.
I see reactive , impulsive behaviors in most children, especially children on the spectrum or who have other 'labels' that impact their behaviors. Learning to pause & respond takes practice, self awareness & regulation. and time.
Responsive behaviors have an element of a pause, a choice with them. The ability to pause and decide to respond or not.
This lesson started the practice and provided a nice way to introduce the terms, concepts and deeper understanding of the difference.
This idea of pausing to choose a response is also important in pirate club when we need to understand and use strategies to defeat those pesky Unthinkables.
It started with a discussion while building a G.O. chart about when reacting without thinking is good and serves us well. Typically these were considered dangerous events where to prevent injury of ourselves or another we had to react quickly. I explained how our brain is very good at this reacting.
I then held an ice cube in my hand as I 'noticed' out loud what I was experiencing, feeling and any impulses I had to drop the ice cube. However, I kept holding the ice cube as it dripped on me.
Next, I asked the children and staff if they were up to holding an ice cube. All raised their hands eagerly. As we all sat holding our ice cubes the noticing began. Most were able to hold onto the ice cube and those who dropped it quickly we talked about what they had noticed and whether they decided to drop it or knew afterwards that they dropped it.
I ended the activity with the idea of having a choice now. The ability to decide when to drop the ice cube gave them that choice. I ask each child still holding an ice cube to decide whether to drop it in the sink or garbage can.
Welcome to my classroom!
I am passionate, a little bit quirky ( some may say a little bit more) and dedicated to serving children with Autism. These young people have touched me deeply and have made me a better teacher & hopefully person. I want to share what I have learned that allows these beautiful children to grow & sometimes thrive in my class.