TIP of the WEEK: Learning New Skills

Latham-CentersLearning a new skill takes lots of time and even more patience. Whether that skill is physical like walking on unsteady terrain or stairs or if the skill is tolerating stress or change it is crucial that the child is allowed to practice in a safe environment until they feel comfortable.
1. Don’t get discouraged. Just because they can demonstrate a skill close to perfectly in a calm, safe place does not mean that they are ready to use that skill under stress. Keep practicing and one day it will come naturally to them.
2. Allow for mistakes. The best plan is to ignore the mistakes when possible and keep trying. Praise every effort that is made and keep moving forward.
3. Consequences just don’t work. Taking something away for not utilizing a skill that they are working on sabotages all the efforts being made. It just doesn’t work.
4. Know when enough is enough. If your child is becoming overly frustrated or starts to dread even practicing this skill then put it aside for now and work on something else.
Turning practice into use in real life takes constant follow through and reinforcement. Don’t give up unless your child is making it clear that they need a break and remember to ask yourself who this skill is for. If it will truly improve their quality of life then keep up with it but if it is for you or someone else then reconsider.

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Patrice Carroll is Latham Centers’ world-renowned Prader-Willi Syndrome specialist. She works with Latham Centers’ residents with PWS, their families and consultants, continuously learning and teaching about PWS best practices. 


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