Recently in our group we attempted to help our kids understand the concept of “pushing buttons,” or doing something purposely to make others mad. We have written on this twice before. You read those entries here and here. This was happening a lot in our group, and taking away from our time to address other social concepts. We realized that they were pushing buttons for the obvious reason of getting a reaction but also because they often didn’t know what to do instead. How else could they interact or make their friend think positively about them? In came some role-playing and visual supports to the rescue.
First we established what pushed each others buttons. The funny thing was it was easy for the kids themselves to tell us what bothered others! They were usually spot on. Great perspective taking activity on its own. We talked about how we could tell it bothered them (i.e. body language, tone of voice, facial expressions, etc.) We wrote these behaviors out and added a picture using Lessonpix, to help our non reading friends as well as to help with understanding. For example, B can’t stand when other kids tell him what to do. We found a picture of a teacher on Lessonpix and placed it next to B’s name under a column with a “mad” face. We then brainstormed what we could do instead of telling him what to do? How about asking him vs. telling him? “Do you wanna be a policeman?” Vs. ” You’re the policeman, I’m the bad guy!” We role played this several times, used our visual and catch phrase from Social Adventures App “Teachers tell, friends ask” (found here) and found an image from Lessonpix of a child asking. We placed this image next to the “telling” picture and under the column with a ” happy” face.
This seems simple enough, yet it was critical to make these concepts concrete and visual. We did this for the entire group for different behaviors that “pushed” buttons such as using too loud of a voice, to shouting out who is first in line. We generated alternatives to make friends happy instead of mad. The visual chart is now in our group room for reference and a copy was sent home with each kiddo so they could discuss with their families and review before group. Families report that they were able to carry over this concept at home too with button pushing of siblings.
We have had much less button pushing and more time for fun!
Photo by: Les Chatfield
Submitted by: Meghan G. Graham M.S. CCC-SLP