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All images and posts written by and copyright to Amanda Clements (nee Gray) 2009-2012 unless otherwise indicated.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Helping children self-evaluate

To help with self-evaluation, we need to help children keep records of their successes - and review their limitations.
In the last post I addressed self-evaluation, one task driven by our executive functioning as identified in the document by Queensland Health. As mentioned, when our executive functioning isn't working as it should, we find it hard to "search" our previous experiences and learning to work out what strengths and difficulties we bring to a situation.

So for children with executive functioning difficulties - including many who have ADHD, Autism, anxiety disorders, cerebral palsy and a range of other conditions - we need to find more visual ways to help them recognise and remember their strengths and limitations.

Rewards and Behaviour Charts

Starting from a very young age we can use reward charts to help children identify and remember their successes. We can use these for social and behaviour skills, as well as learning achievements.

There is a difference between using rewards as a "bribe" and using them as a prompt for their memory. For example, if you say "If you do ...., then you will get..." then the reward becomes a bribe. If you say, "Let's look at our stars. What do we need to do?" then the reward becomes a reminder.

A very subtle difference, but one that is important.

For a reward system to work as a reminder rather than a bribe, it needs to be focused on specific things. See the example below from

If used well, rewards charts can be a visible record of achievements, reminding children of what they are able to do, as well as a reminder of what you want them to do.

For some great, free behaviour charts and records visit If you know of any others, please share them with us.

Social Stories

I have discussed social stories at length in a previous post, so I won't discuss them in depth here. However, it is important to recognise that social stories can help children recognise their limitations as well as their strengths.

For example, a social story can be used to explain when they should ask for adult help when faced with bullying or other safety issues.
"I will try to find an adult when someone bigger than me says things that make me sad."

Communication Book

I wrote a little about communication books in a previous post. These are not only great ways to keep the communication lines open between home and school when a child has communication and/or memory difficulties. They are also great records to help remind a child of what they have achieved and learnt.

Read the communication book together like a storybook. Read it before your child goes back to school if possible. This can stir their memory and help activate their "search engine" for relevant things to apply to their day.

Hang reminders everywhere...

Hanging reminders (with visuals such as those you can find here) everywhere can also help children self-evaluate.
"I can tie my own shoe laces!"

"I can get dressed by myself!"

"I can carry my own bag."

"I can say, Thank you! when somebody helps me."

In the next post I will explore some strategies for older children, like using diaries and learning journals....


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Copyright Amanda Gray 2009-11

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