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Little Man Wins An iPad Mini On His School Reward System (Vivo)

15 Dec

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I’ve written a number of posts on the ups and downs little man has experienced when it comes to the introducing of a new behaviour and reward programme.

Mainstream school struggled to find something that worked for him as an individual. Smiley faces and star charts don’t mean a thing to little man. What his mainstream school failed to understand was a sticker or a promise isn’t enough for him. Little man requires real visual evidence of rewards, ones that encourage and therefore lead to results.

It was only once little man had started at his independent special school for children with autism and Aspergers did we find a system that worked for him.

However, this system isn’t just a way to improve behaviour, encourage participation in tasks and have children producing good work… Though it does do all three, It also helps children like Little man gain independence, building the skills needed for everyday life.

So, what is this system? Its title is Vivo Miles and its being used in both special and mainstream schools around the country.

Vivo Miles is a points earning system that in a funny kind of way, operates like a store Loyalty card, such as a reward card… Nectar or clubcard. Only children don’t earn points by shopping but instead doing a host of other stuff that their teaching team then rewards them for by handing out Vivo points.

The system works well with children like little man who are on the autism spectrum because its very visual. It connects to an online site where each school and child have their own personal profile. Teachers log on and reward points or hand out paper points that allows pupils to add the points to their account. Children can get a vivo card and pin. They can independently log on and access their personal profile from desktops and smartphones. Here they can spend their points online and even earn interest if saving points. The Vivo system isn’t just some little online gift store. Schools can choose reward items to be added to their catalogue from the huge Vivo selection. Little man can buy store gift cards, mobile top up, toys and other various merchandise.

The system is extremely innovative. Pupils can see all points rewarded. This includes the teacher who has rewarded them, the amount of points given and the reason behind them receiving the points. I love looking through the points history which kind of reminds me of an online banking statement. I’m able to read all the positive stuff his achieved and his able to have the independence to make online purchases (given his got enough points). He can even independently donate to a number of charities if desired.

Each vivo point is worth a penny so children can save for bigger items or just purchase smaller items frequently. All products are dispatched to the school and pupils receive a dispatch confirmation email and a delivery date just like you would if doing your online weekly shop. What’s more they ain’t charged postage.

Parents can also create an account that connects to their child’s and are even able to make a private pledge to their child that is linked to their progress at school, to increase motivation. This idea is an excellent way for schools and parents to work together to help their child reach their full potential. Here you can read more on the parental sides of Vivo

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I took this statement from the Vivo site that I think highlights the independence side of things really well…

“• Early personal finance lessons… Vivo is designed in such a way that it looks and feels to students a lot like their first bank account. With the currency being the’ Vivo’ and good old fashioned hard work being the way to earn ‘Vivos’ it presents a unique opportunity to teach some important personal finance lessons. Saving up for something over a longer term, earning interest, budgeting and managing an account are all covered by the Vivo system.
There is even an option to purchase a Vivo visa prepaid card for your child to take their first steps into the world of financial independence without the temptations of credit.”

I saw little man on his Vivo profile last week. I asked if he was buying himself something with his points and he repiled that he was actually purchasing some Christmas presents for myself and his dad. My heart skipped a beat and I felt myself welling up a little if honest. It was such a grown-up thing to do, and lets not forget a sweet one too.

To know he had been really trying to do well, earn points and buy gifts for others really impressed me! I’ve never send him do this kind of think independently, given he is useless at saving money when its in his hand etc the points system has really helped him to save and think of others. Sat in front of me was this little independent 12 year old who had come on leaps and bounds in the space of a year or so.

Well… Here’s the totally amazing part! Vivo were also running a raffle at the time. 5 vivo points equalled one raffle ticket. Little man told me the first prize was for an iPad mini with 20 runner up prizes of festive snowflake craft stamps. He had some points left after his little shop and he had fun buying a number of raffle tickets which amounting to around £1.50 or so. Then on Wednesday little man was home from school having been sent home earlier in the week as he was pretty unwell. It was this day we received a phone call which his dad took on his mobile. Given he was out a message was left that stated Little man had won the raffle. He called me and gave me the number that had been left on his voicemail. Just as I was about to call assuming it was just a stamp he had won, an email pinged in my inbox announcing he had won the iPad mini. At this point I hadn’t yet said anything as I was unclear of his prize and he would have driven me crazy asking questions but with the email at hand I passed him my iPhone and told him to read the email (yes, his come along way with his reading too).

Well, the expression on his face was priceless. We called them up and spoke to a lovely lady who confirmed his prize. Little man requested that he speak to her to say thank you which he did followed by the words “You are a very nice and attractive lady” as I apologised for the slightly weird comment she told me not to worry, my little guy had made her afternoon… Lol.

He wasn’t in school on the Thursday as he was still unwell but on Friday his iPad was presented to him in assembly and he came home iPad in hand feeling somewhat pleased with himself.

20121215-174456.jpgLittle man playing with his new iPad

If this isn’t a reward system that truly rewards a child than I don’t know what is! Its not just the win of an iPad his gained but also the Recognition for his efforts in school, improved confidence and some great independence skills.

20121215-174703.jpglittle man checks out Mindcraft on the iPad

Well done Little man… Proud just doesn’t cut it.

School’s interested in using Vivo Miles or those who want to know more can check out the website here.

Little man has created a rather funny little video on an iPad App and uploaded it to his Youtube. Please give it a view and a like as it really would make his day.

This is NOT a sponsored post I choose to write the post to show others what benefits can come from using the right reward system, especially when your child has SEN.

How to make your own visual aid in 10 easy steps

12 Nov

Visual aids are a fantastic resource for a child on the autism spectrum and can be used in a number of ways.

This could be anything from PECs to encourage communication, reward charts for the encouragement of appropriate behaviour; schedules (whether for the whole day or just parts of it, such as school, bedtime etc…) Social stories to help prepare for change and many others.

We have used visual aids for the last few years and I discovered the true beauty of them, back when I went on the ‘Early bird plus’ parenting course for parents of children with autism & aspergers syndrome, which was ran by NAS and our local authority, a good three years ago! At first I spent a small fortune kiting us out with a load of tools, from visual cards for games to schedules and social stories. Of course when you’re a mother to a newly diagnosis child, you spend a small fortune on these things just doing what you think is right! Well, Like many I learnt the hard way, and I’ll never fork out big bucks for something that can be easily made in the comfort of your own home (Well, unless someone presents me with a well made product that’s fairly priced and sold by someone who isn’t just looking to make a quick buck from my child’s diagnosis, that is)!

We don’t use an all day schedule for Little man, though we used to, however, our life is a tad crazy at times and it becomes a little hard to follow. You see, I don’t want Little man becoming to reliant on routine, yes, routine is good and he loves it, but life cannot always be this simple and sometimes a little thing called “Life” gets in the way. Nonetheless he has one at school and also follows one to help him with his bedtime routine.

HOW IT WORKS

Little man has a chart that has a small pocket that holds a number of small cards each displaying its own symbol or image!
What’s great is, by designing your own you can completely customise it to fit around your own child’s routine (or in most bedtime cases, desired routine)! Here’s an example… Your child maybe the type of child who settles only after a story, may take medication and also have a small bath an hour before bed. You would therefore make cards that resemble these actions, plus any additional cards that symbolise other areas of the routine like… a tooth-brush, pyjamas, warm drink, toilet, kisses, lights and bed. This doesn’t even need to be in the form of pictures, your child may even prefer words! You may start with pictures and as they grow change over to text, whatever works best for you, that’s the beauty of it.

Another great aspect to the whole concept of schedules is that they work for children with and without autism. This means your child wont feel that its anything out the ordinary, especially if schedules are being used both in the home and educational setting. Children with Aspergers Syndrome especially, are quite aware of their differences and can sometimes get downhearted, I try my best not make Little man feel singled out, as-well as trying to avoid his sister feeling left out, if you know what I mean? That’s why I have ensured that both the children have a bedtime schedule as well as a chart to display their own set of targets to ensure they keep all of their pocket-money or even add to it (quite a new thing, it has its up and down weeks) this way it’s a win-win scenario as no one feels singled or left out!

HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN SCHEDULE

I wouldn’t mind getting me own brand of schedule out there and onto the market! One that’s simple yet fun, easy to follow and doesn’t leave you feeling poor! I’m forever having ideas for schedules running away in my head, maybe because I’m always thinking of ways to make life that Little bit simpler for both little man and the family as a whole. However, life offers little time, so for now… how about I show you a dead simple way to make a bedtime schedule with nothing other than a few bits and bobs from your craft box?

WHAT YOU WILL NEED

3/4 sheets of paper or card
Velcro Dots (available from all major craft shops)
laminating sheets & laminator
PC and printer (though not essential)
brightly coloured pens
ruler (if not using a PC)
scissors
small piece of sticky tap
Glue stick
Glue Dots (Optional) can use a glue stick
some stickers for decoration (optional)

Step one: Decide which area of your child’s life will benefit most from a structured routine, then make a list of the symbols or words that make up your routine (bed, tooth-brush etc.-etc). Next you need to make the base for your main chart. You can download and print templates from an array of sites that offer free downloadable resources such as symbols, I will include some resources at the end of this post. Otherwise if you fancy getting really creative simply use a ruler to make your own (I made my own using text edit in my mac). Once you have finished printing or drawing your chart, you may wish to cut it down to size, depending on how many symbols you have to attach. We used A4 paper so cut it in half. If you have lots of symbols, keep it at A4 size.

Step two: Once you have done the above, put it to one side, its time to make your cards! These are quite small and you can make these in a number of ways…

a) Download from one of the sites given in the resource at the end of this post or check out free clip art on google! Once you have found what you want, you can then print them out.

b) Use your ruler to mark out the number of square boxes required to make up all the symbols or words in your routine (just count the number of items in your list). We made our boxes 3 by 3 cms but you could make yours bigger or smaller if desired! (If using text as opposed to symbols you may wish to make these slightly larger, you could use rectangles over squares) just make sure there is enough space to house them all on your chart.

c) If you are using instruction ‘B’ over that of ‘A’ you will then need to add the images or words to your cards! If you fancy doing a bit of a freestyling, then great… draw away, otherwise look in magazines or uses the google images ect, make some cuttings and get sticking, attaching your cuttings to the card templates. If using words, write these in nice bold lettering, or even add some small text above your symbols as I’ve done .

Step three: Now take a laminating sheet and laminate the paper containing your card templates. Note you should not have cut out your cards as yet, all should be on the same sheet of paper regardless whether you downloaded them (Step two [A]) or made them by hand (step two [b]c]).

Step four: Once laminated, cut each of your cards out and leave to one side.

Step five: Next bring forward your base chart and before laminating, you can decorate if you wish, using the brightly coloured pen (important don’t add stickers just yet).

Step six: Once decorated, laminate your chart.

Step seven: Take your Velcro dots and your glue dots (a glue stick works fine also) and glue the rough side of the velcro dot to your chart, with the other smoother side to your card. Do this for every card in your routine, these can then be attached to the Velcro on your chart.

Step eight : With a small piece of paper fold it in half and use the tape to stick down the sides and end. Apply a Velcro dot to the back and the other side to your chart , then use stickers or whatever else you fancy to decorate. This will be your envelope to store your symbol cards when not in use.

Step nine: Here’s the fun part ! Its time to decorate your chart by applying the stickers to the base chart. These can be easily removed and wont damage the chart due to its laminate casing. This will allow you to apply new stickers whenever you like, completely revamping the whole chart meaning it can therefore grow with your child and his/her changing interests.

Step Ten: Hang on the wall, choosing somewhere quite low, making sure its accessible to your child. Last but by no means least, have some fun as you but your creation to the test.

Congratulations
You just made your very own visual aid.

FREE RESOURCES  

Click on any of the links listed to uncover download resources to help you create your schedule.

Visual Aids for learning

SymbolWorld

Use visual strategies 

 Trainland

 Tinsnips

Pics4Learning

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