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Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Bow is unbribable. In this sense, his personal integrity surpasses that of many a judge I have known. However, this poses almost insurmountable challenges for me as a mother and a researcher, when trying to find positive motivational strategies.

Sometimes Bow and I have really counter-productive exchanges. For instance, this weekend, I could tell that Bow wanted to go out in the yard, but he refused to say so. Mind you, he didn't refuse to spell out words. It's just that he would say things like: "Everybody is bad" instead of "I want to go out." He'd be looking toward the yard with great longing, and he'd be gesturing toward the door, but when he spoke, it had nothing to do with that. "Bow, if you want to go outside, just say so," I told him. -- "No. They won't win."

I'm not sure who "they" are, but I can't help but feel that I'm included.

He does this kind of thing with Lawrence on the computer, too. Lawrence will tell Bow that he can have a snack or go out, or some other thing that Bow obviously wants, if he'll just spell it out on the touchscreen. Bow will pick up the chopstick as if he is about to do something, then put it back down, and start examining his nails as if he really doesn't care. Then, just when Lawrence is leaving to empty the potty and is no longer in the same pen with Bow, Bow will finally break down and spell "out", and the computer will sound out the word.

It's very important for Bow that we know that it was his idea to say something and that he's not just doing it to get a reward.


  1. He seems to have a strong personality. I'm curious to know what his reactions are when he is praised.

  2. Actually, this is kind of similar to the behavior of non-verbal autistic kids who have become used to asking for things with gestures, expressions or by dragging people around! They get frustrated because they know you really understand their communication method, yet you are being purposely obtuse and refusing to respond unless they play "mother may I?"

    Sometimes you just have to be more stubborn than they are! :)

  3. Longroad, yes, Bow has a very strong personality! He likes praise, as we all do, but if you condescend to him or praise him falsely, he picks up on that, too!

  4. Suzanne, I try to be even more stubborn than he is, but he's tough to beat in that category! :D