Introduction To Providing Help
Help is verbal, nonverbal and physical assistance
given to help your child learn and to help your child develop
a skill. When help is offered for these reasons, it is often
called a prompt. Help makes it easier for a child to perform
a skill more correctly, more completely or more independently.
It is important to
remember that help is a temporary support. As your child learns
a skill, you should gradually decrease the help you offer
until your child doesn't need it anymore.
BEHAVIORS AND SITUATIONS THAT MIGHT CALL
Usually, there are four possible combinations
of behaviors and situations that can let you know when your
child needs help. The first combination is when your child
isn't able to do something that others her age do. For example,
when Abby tries again and again without success to cut with
scissors but other children her age can use scissors successfully,
she may need help.
The second combination is when your child can
do something but does it at the wrong times or in the wrong
places. For example, at the child care center, when Josh wanders
outdoors while others are choosing indoor center activities,
he may need help in learning to follow the teacher's instructions
and to ask when he wants to do something.
The third combination is when a child can do
something sometimes but doesn't do it at other times, even
when other children do. For example, when other children in
preschool play during free time but Dennis, who plays with
his brothers at home, only watches or talks to the teacher,
he may need help joining in.
The fourth combination is when a child often
does something that seems bizarre or inappropriate. For example,
when Diana, who doesn't speak, throws herself on the floor
and screams both at home and in public places, she may need
help learning to express her needs to others.
The reason we give help in these situations
is so that children can learn something quicker and better
than by trial and error. We give help so that children aren't
frustrated when trying to learn something, so that they will
learn to do things in the right times and places, thus avoiding
embarrassment, and so that they don't learn patterns or habits
that isolate them or prevent them from further learning. Help
is a temporary measure. We give it to support children in
becoming independent. They are independent when they can recognize
what they want or need to do and do it on their own. We should
plan to gradually decrease the help we give until children
can do what they need to do without it. Forms of Help
There are four basic forms