Ask Dr. Phelan: 1-2-3 Magic and Special Needs
Our question today has to do with special-needs children in 1-2-3 Magic. It's from Loretta and it goes like this:
“We have found the structure and less emotional aspects of 1-2-3 Magic to be incredibly helpful in working with our child with autism, although we do have to modify the count to give a couple of reminders when we're at 2. Ultimately, our child is able to self-correct and save the situation. This has been so helpful for us all...”
Q: Do you have any other tips or suggestions for kids who need a little more support with transitions or other advice for parents of children with special needs?
Well, Loretta, usually with 1-2-3 Magic you don't have to make a lot of modifications for children with special needs. Sometimes kids with autism do benefit from the structure. Some of those kids also like charting.
Some kids will benefit from transitions with timers. There are different kinds of timers, and some of them are very visual. There's one called The Time Timer, which shows on a clock how much time is left in a big red band. It goes kind of slowly, so you can you can use something like that.
Feel free to customize the program
After a 2, you're talking about doing a 2 ½ and 2 ¾, which we never recommend. But I'll tell you, I don't quarrel with success. So if you're having good luck with that with your child, I can't quarrel with it. Just don't do that too much. Don't do more than 2 ½ or 2 ¾ because it tends to impair the effectiveness of the program. But it sounds like you're doing okay.
Think about timers. Think about charting and giving a lot of praise to your children. Those are good for transitions and for what we call “start behavior,” which is encouraging positive behavior.