Friday, January 6, 2012

The social Navigator and Collaborative problem solving

The social navigator is a gadget designed by a special needs mom and professional  Lorraine Millan to help kids develop the many lagging cognitive skills and solve problems in a flexible and adaptive way. 

The underlying philosophy behind the social navigator fits in well with  The Collaborative problem solving approach  - 'Children do well if they can '  and not' Children do well if they want to '. This means problems need to be solved not by using consequences, rewards and punishments, but in a way that teaches the lagging skills and addresses the child's concerns in the context of problems.

Traditional top-down strategies of teaching kids problem solving and social skills fail to help kids generalize their skills to real life situations. Kids' concerns, the key to problem solving are ignored. The social navigator focuses on the kid's concerns – helps kids to identify concerns and articulate them.

The social navigator – from the S.N web page  -

 The Social Navigator  Reduces Reflexive Negativity and Agitation

So many children with social and emotional issues have been corrected so many times, that they become highly reactive to any redirection.

It could be that ' correction' ,  and problem solving is being done ' in the moment '  when kids are already frustrated and agitated , so  correction makes things worse . 

When a kid uses the gadget his ' autonomy ' is being respected since there is not another person telling him what to do.

CPS – collaborative problem solving can be a little negative for kids in the beginning as no one likes to reminded that they have problems  ,the connation  being  'you are a  the problem'. 

Once kids begin to trust the process, see their interests being served, their problems solved, and relationships improved -  CPS loses this negativity. Kids should be taught that ' mistakes are our friends ' and problems are windows of opportunity.

There is a downside or a challenge to using the Social navigator. Parents and teachers and other care givers should be using them if they don't have CPS skills. The gadget cannot replace the role of the adults in CPS and their contribution to interactions with kids. Relationships are also reciprocal and dependent on compatibility. CPS is not so much finding your solution, but finding solutions that are mutually satisfactory. A gadget seems more valuable when solving a problem on your own. A parent or teacher acting as surrogate frontal lobe can do a better job that a gadget in directing a kid's thinking. We want parents to improve their CPS skills , responsiveness and compatibility with their kids.

The other challenge is that we want the kid in time to get a thrill in solving problems without the gadget and use it less and less.

Read about the social navigator below and see CPS approach behind the gadget.


1 comment:

  1. I am also a diligent supporter of the CPS model. I spend a significant amount of my professional and personal time educating people about the neurological and cognitive underpinnings of behavioral disorders. I do this in an effort to encourage competent, effective and compassionate care. I have spent years challenging the long-held, misguided beliefs that blame parents, encourage discipline models and support restrictive educational settings. While the greater majority of parents and professionals I teach embrace a skills-based, conflict resolution model, they have a hard time putting it into practice.

    The Social Navigator was designed to make it easier for them to implement this approach. As a behavior management device it encourages conflict resolution, but it also provides the child with the social processing support they require to accurately evaluate and react to social dynamics. It is meant to be used as a guided reference for both the child and the adult. The great thing about the app is it automatically redirects attention from a power struggle to a problem to be solved. While it was developed to teach skills, it has also been quite successful in changing attitudes. Most adults who use the app, especially the educators, start to recognize what skills are really required to be cooperative and social and begin to change their opinion of the child's intentions and the root cause of their behavior. I am hopeful that the app will be a useful teaching tool to children, parents and professionals, but more importantly, that the use of this technology will be a positive step toward changing the wide-held cultural views that limit children worldwide.

    Thanks for your support and keep up the good work.
    Lorraine Millan