By: Dr. Michelle Stangline
Rationale: I discovered this technique when I was training my puppy. She would lunge at cars when we were walking. This became very dangerous and she almost got us both killed one day.
So, I tried this animal behavior therapy technique using a dog treat. When a car approached I would give her a calm warning. If she stayed calm as the car passed I would give her a treat with praise.
She started to behave when I gave her a warning, and then a treat for her good behavior. Then, I thought, “How can I apply this technique in a way that is appropriate for children?”
After much thought, I came up with the “crayon box” and began to apply this technique to students in the classroom.
Teachers liked the idea and started using this technique on their most disruptive students. We started to see student behavior improving. Basically, this is behavior therapy moving extrinsic behavior to intrinsic behavior.
Show the student a box of crayons, markers, or colored pencils. Explain to them that you want to give the box to them. However, they will need to earn the box crayon by crayon.
Other Considerations & Recommendations:
* You may want to start with a set of 8 to ten crayons, markers, or colored pencils, especially for younger children.
* Never take away a crayon, marker, or colored pencil if it has been earned.
* The student can also be given a journal for drawing out their frustrations, anger, and sadness. The crayons, markers, or colored pencils are fun to use with this journal.
* Other sets of items can also be earned in this manner. Once you finish with one boxed set, you can offer a different type of drawing set. This keeps this technique fresh and the students won’t get tired of it.
* This technique is great for Response to Intervention data collection. You now have a log and can chart how many “sets” the student earns.
Disclaimer: This website and its content is intended for trained licensed mental health professionals and school certified mental health professionals to use for their clients / students at their own discretion.
*If you ignore the disclaimer above are using these techniques on yourself and you feel any discomfort or upset it is highly suggested that you seek out a licensed mental health professional immediately.
For any other type of mental health emergency call your local 911 / Police Number immediately.
Dr. Stangline does not offer advice / suggestions to anyone who is not a professional mental health provider, or a student who is studying this field and has questions about mental health programs of study.
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