How to Transition a Resistant Child to Table-Top Therapy

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Introduce a First, Then Board:

  • Have a paper with the words “first” and “then” written underneath with room to velcro on a task below each word
  • Make pictures for the types of play/rewards that the child enjoys as well as some basic tasks (including non-speech tasks, like “touch your nose”)

Use the First, Then Board During Play:

  • Withhold something that you know the child will want to play with
  • When the child tries to get it, show him the first, then board with the thing he wants under “then” and  very simple non-speech task (like touch your nose) under first
  • Tell him “first touch your nose and then you can have the ____
  • Help him do it if he doesn’t do it on his own and then give him the reward.  Don’t let it become a battle, just do it for him and be done with it
  • Don’t require him to move to the table for this

Use the First, Then Board to Move to the Table:

  • Gradually, change your tasks to include moving toward or to the table
  • Use pictures on the “first” part that include things like point to the table, touch the table, sit down at the table, sit down at the table and count to 5, etc.

Use the First, Then Board to Do a Very Short Task at the Table:

  • Come up with a simple task that the child can do at the table that doesn’t require much effort or struggle on his part (like point to the dog on the paper that’s at the table)
  • Use the first, then board to get the child to go to the table and do the easy task before getting what he wants
  • He doesn’t need to sit down in the chair

Use the First, Then Board to Introduce Speech/Language Work at the Table:

  • Gradually move toward harder and harder speech tasks until you’re finally working on the skill you actually want him to do
  • Gradually build up the amount of time it takes the child to complete the task or set timers