Mar 09, 2012 0 Share

Making the Grade

Hanging sign saying "Rated" with five stars below.

We just had Cody’s first quarterly meeting with the staffing supervisor of Cody’s new service provider, Mike, and Cody’s case worker, Jacquie. And it went well!

It was refreshing for once to be able to say that we were pleased with Cody’s tech, Stephen, and the kind of initiative he puts forth into helping Cody work his program. Stephen is able to be stern with Cody without using a harsh tone of voice or intimidating demeanor. By the same token, Stephen is also not intimidated by Cody—something with which staff from his previous service provider seemed to struggle.

Patience and determination are among Stephen’s greatest qualities, and perhaps the qualities we look for the most in any staff member who would be here to help Cody in learning his daily life skills. Cody requires multiple prompts and directives at times to stay focused on a task. Having observed Stephen and Cody from behind the glass, so to speak, I know that Stephen is conscientious and will follow through with these requirements until Cody has achieved the given goal. In short, we were able to tell Mike and Jacquie that the objectives in Cody’s plan were being carried out as stated thanks to Stephen’s enthusiasm and assertiveness.

Mike and Jacquie were also pleased to see the daily schedule Stephen and I posted on the door to the family room. They liked the fact that we were truly involved in Cody’s program through communicating with Stephen, and putting forth our own efforts to make the plan a success. They expressed their appreciation that we as Cody’s parents were on board to work with them as a team, and not to simply state our desires and then sit quietly on the sidelines expecting the agency to take full responsibility for Cody’s progress.

We then exchanged ideas for ramping up expectations for Cody a bit. Now that Cody and Stephen have been working together for a month, and Cody knows he is expected to participate and cooperate with Stephen, we decided to set up a reward system. We are going to implement a sort of grading scale. This will be 10 point scale, with one being the lowest number. The grading scale will be used by Stephen to give Cody a visual of how well he completed a given task, but also be used by Cody to rate how he felt about that task. So for instance, if Cody and Stephen are working on math, when math time is over, Stephen will draw two scales on the dry erase board with the label “Math” written above it. Stephen will use one scale to rate how well Cody completed the task and Cody will use the other to rate how he feels about the task and his performance. The scales will be used for each time block and task throughout the four hour period of each day Stephen comes to work with Cody.

Rewards will come in different forms. Cody will have an opportunity to earn a small reward each day. Daily rewards might range from a candy bar and a soda, to a trip to McDonalds for an ice cream cone or maybe a trip to the Dollar General to buy a dollar item of Cody’s choosing. But there will be weekly rewards as well.

Weekly rewards will be given on a basis of Cody’s overall score for the week. So for example if his average score for all the tasks during the week is an 8 or above, then he could earn a special outing. This could be a trip to see a movie or lunch at one of his favorite places to eat followed by a stop for his favorite milkshake.

I believe the reward system will give Cody more incentive to work harder and put more focus on achieving each task on the schedule. The scale will give a concrete visual to help Cody understand how well he did on each task and how well his day went at the end. It reinforces the concept of, “You did awesome!” or, “We need to work on this.” I have tremendous faith in Stephen’s abilities to help Cody be successful. I’m very excited to see the progress that Cody and Stephen have made in only a month, and extremely appreciative of the attention and care Cody’s service provider puts into seeing their clients achieve their given goals. Given what I have seen thus far, I’m rating this program a great, big 10!