"My 20 year old still watches Blues Clues"
What if Blues Clues wasn't actually his motivation?
According to many nonspeakers who now have a way to communicate, if something isn’t age-appropriate, it probably isn’t truly motivating.
It might be calming or regulating, or it might just be part of a powerful OCD loop.
Repeat action does not = motivation
Understand the difference between purposeful & automatic actions. This basic knowledge of brain pathways can help us understand some key characteristics to distinguish between an automatic loop and purposeful movement.
Automatic/impulsive actions tend to be fast/repeated (eg Watching the same childrens video clips for years, speaking the same phrase repeatedly, saying no right when a request is made). These are shorter neural pathways in the brain.
Purposeful actions tend to be slower, involving more thought, focus, & regulation to complete (eg expressing unique, age-appropriate thoughts, do more age-appropriate activities, etc.). These are longer pathways which require more effort.
Purposeful or intentional movement requires a longer brain pathway than an automatic movement.
Purposeful pathways require more effort.
How to help a student who may be stuck in an automatic loop:
Share that you know of other nonspeakers who have explained through spelling that they aren't motivated by the children's shows. However, they may find them to be calming or their body may be stuck on repeat.
Explain that you are not sure if this activity is something they want to do or if they are stuck.
Try feeding their brain age appropriate knowledge while they do their automatic loops (eg talk to them about the day you met their father or read an age appropriate book to them).
Learn how to help your student express their inner voice through text-based communication. Understand how to help them get unstuck.
Communication For Education offers a course with contributions from dozens of nonspeaking experts and a wide variety of multidisciplinary professionals.