Thank you to COVD for this piece.
Today’s guest blogger is Katey Hajos MS. Katey has been a vision therapist and vision therapy instructor for over 10 years. Her passion is motivating the hard to motivate patient. Katey shares a few of her techniques designed to create a drive to change from within.
Let’s face it; we all struggle with motivation this time of year. We all start with the greatest intentions, but after a few weeks we start the inevitable backslide into complacency. Our students are coming back to therapy after weeks off from school and therapy (never mind all the home assignments they DID NOT do over the break) and we have a lot of making up to do! I find that the best motivation comes from within, prizes and physical rewards can be effective, but they are not a long-term solution. Here are some simple tips for keeping your student motivated throughout the entire year:
- Talk to Them!
This seems simple, but our students often feel that adults really don’t care what they have to say. Ask them about their day, their pets, and their hobbies and revisit these topics every week. By learning about their interests, you can tailor their program to their needs. Everyone wants to feel special and cared for and this little bit of effort will help them open up and even look forward to their weekly time. Demonstrating that you care will add a personal touch that will open up your student to want to do well for you.
- Let Them Run the Show!
Obviously, we plan the sessions as needed, but why not let them pick the order of the session. With some of my more difficult students, I have a general game plan set, but several options of how we can accomplish the tasks. Need to work on saccades? Have several types of columns to choose from and let them pick the sheet to practice. Are letters not exciting enough? Give them shapes, numbers, or even two pencils to accomplish the same procedure.
- Make it Fun!
This is one of my favorite methods with those high-energy students, just keep them moving and keep the challenge up. Turn the activities into a game to keep them encouraged and challenged. Hart Chart too boring? Would you rather stand on the Bosu Ball, balance board, or how about jumping on the trampoline? How fast can you read this chart? How many can you get done in 2 minutes? Now beat your time/score! Remember to add time for misses or “crashes”.
- Pass it On!
I always hear, “How does he work for you? Because he always fights me at home.” Parents can struggle with the student when working through their therapy program. Remember they have been through a lot to get to the point they are now. They have battled their student and schoolwork for a long time and this feels no different to them. Let the student demonstrate the home assignments to the parent and remind the parent that the student is the one in control of the program; it is up to them to get the work done. Children love the one on one attention they don’t always get from the busy parent, remind them to make the therapy time their special one on one time to talk about their day. Most important tell the parent that it is OK to have fun with the assignments