Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Best Kind of Different - Questions for Shonda Schilling

Shonda  Schilling , the wife of a famous baseball player has written a book about parenting their r son Grant , the discovery that he has asperger's syndrome and their journey with the syndrome. Asperger kids are on the  autistic spectrum. They  are high functioning but  lacking social skills.

I have listened to a you tube interview with Shonda Schilling and now I have some questions for her.

If your son already had a diagnosis of ADHD  ,why only after the aspergers dx did you view him as being different and needed a different type of discipline? ( A  good proportion of ADHD kids have   difficulties with social skills.)

You have guilt feelings for yelling and trying to discipline him when he did not have the skills to respond to your discipline. When ALL kids don't meet our expectations or screw up , should we not respond in a respectful way , try to see things through their eyes , and  '  work with them '  in a collaborative way to try and solve problems rather than using threats of consequences , bribing them with rewards to get compliance ?  Why should only being different demand a respectful response ?

The problem imho was that Shonda Schilling got ' bad advice'. Instead of viewing her ADHD kid as   ' kids do well if they can ' , Shonda , I assume based on the ADHD parenting books out there , was told that ADHD  lack intrinsic motivation ( Barkley)- 'kids do well if they want to '. We   need in addition to medication manage their behavior with rewards and punishments = time out  using token economy systems. ADHD kids need to be managed more and need more  discipline. 

Instead of viewing kids through the lenses of lacking skills and unsolved problems , her child was labelled , pathologised , given medication and the symptons  of his ADHD were  treated with behavior modification.  If Shonda Schilling would have been exposed to the Collaborative problem solving approach , she would have gone through the inventory of lacking cognitive skills - the path ways to challenging behavior , made a list of unsolved problems  and then began a journey of teaching lacking skills in the context of unsolved problems.

What would have happened if her son would have got a Bipolar dx ?  Grant  would have been given more medication and the same behavior modification to treat the symptoms.

Medication seems to help ADHD kids reduce negative social behaviors that are based on ADHD symptoms , but medicine does not teach skills.  

The traditional approach to social skills training is mainly direct instruction and role play. I am pretty certain that Grant  is receiving social skills training. 

In addition he may be getting reinforcements in the form of rewards and verbal praise. In an interview Shonda says that dog trainers are the best parents because they give a lot of praise and unconditional love.  Now rewards and praise = verbal rewards don't treat problems , they are not pro-active , they are supposed to reward and reinforce good behavior by' catch 'em when they are good ' .  They in fact don't reinforce good behavior  but undermine intrinsic motivation and for some kids cause more stress. Treating kids like pets  - giving them doggie biscuits and verbal praise is not unconditional love . These  rewards are contingent on finding something good about the kid or dog even if you make the point of being pretty' large' and dish out tons of praise and doggie biscuits.

Grant is not yet a teenager , so their  journey has a long way to go.  As parents we all are WIP , work –in-progress. I commend Shonda for writing her book. I would like to see the next book where  Shonda advocate for all kids , especially the challenging ones  including ADHD kids . The way to go is to be exposed to names like Ross Greene, Stuart Ablon and Alfie Kohn ,  learn about CPS , collaborative problem solving and unconditional parenting . 

No comments:

Post a Comment