At its core is the idea that, “motivation to complete a task is increased by invoking one’s sense of self.” (Ward & Jacobson, 2003). For our kids, and for many kids with special needs that sense of self can be blurred-at-the-edges in a life that is in many ways highly structured. Therapy, school and extracurriculars are filled with directives, supports, sequences and scaffolding which can inadvertently foster a learned dependency. So, initiation is something we try to encourage at our chapter. One way we do this is by using Job Talk. Instead of delineating steps, and directing each move (e.g. hold this, glue that) we give them a job and discuss as a group what the expectations of such a job may be… and then they’re off! This also helps our kids navigate group projects, when everyone has a job it is easier to work together and begin to understand how to work with another; for example, the Gluer cannot do her job if the Holder isn’t doing his.
So, each week, our kids enter their space and are called upon as Builders, Pokers, Thinkers, Listeners, Fixers, Lookers, Notetakers… and leave with what we hope, is a richer sense of self - “I am, therefore I can.”