Sunday, April 28, 2013




I teach children to refuse, complain and tattle... especially children who have meltdowns, tantrum or whine or cry a lot. Some children are on the spectrum and others act in ways that are just difficult for adults or other children to handle.


Because if a child can refuse VERBALLY then the meltdowns, tantrums, whining and crying will all go away.


Because, when I respect the refusal or acknowledge the complaint, the child learns that his words have power

Then the more strenuous physical behavior [e.g., a tantrum] (that he had been using successfully to communicate or "tattle" his refusal or complain) is no longer necessary.

Simple to More Complex Verbal Refusals:
No, no, no! (add a wagging index finger for emphasis)
No way!
Not now.
Not yet.

I have helped many children eliminate their negative behaviors:

BEFORE training to refuse/complain:

Noelle: It's clean up time.

Child starts to screech, scream, cry...throws himself on the floor or throws toys. 

AFTER training to refuse/complain:

Noelle: It's clean up time.

Child:  "Not yet."
or "No. I'm busy."
or "Not yet. I'm busy playing."
or "I'd like to play a little longer." 

Noelle:  "Okay. You can play a little longer."

Then I ask: "Is it clean up time now?" 
I begin asking 10 minutes before we actually have to clean up and then repeat the question every minute or so until the child answers, "Yes."

If, after 10 minutes, he is still refusing, I say, "I know. I wish we could play more too, but I have to go home.  We had such a good time today.  I can't wait until you come back and we can play again." 

I then shut off my computer monitor (so it's dark) and go to the light switch and darken the room.  I stand by the doorway and say, "Okay. I'm leaving. Let's go. Let's go tell Mommy what a good time we had." Usually the child will follow me out of the room to go to his parent, who is waiting.  Initially, he may act out in the hallway, but that will diminish over time.

After a while the child usually wants to shut off the light himself, and lead me out of the treatment room. 

Note: as the child feels more comfortable verbalizing refusal, he is more likely to agree to clean up without so many repetitions of "Is it clean up time yet/now?" 


What about tattling?

Scenario #1:

Noelle swipes a toy car from a child.

Child starts to cry and scream.
Scenario #2:

Noelle swipes a toy car from a child.

*Child: "Noelle. Stop swiping my car. It's not fair!
Mommy! Noelle keeps swiping my car. Tell her to give it back!"

As a speech therapist, and seeker of functional communication (and a happier more confident child), I am proud of Scenario #2.  It wins, hands down.

Refusal: Stop
Complaining: It's not fair
Tattling: Mommy! Noelle keeps swiping my car
+ A Bonus: Asking For Help: Tell her to give it back 


*Today I modeled this for a child with Autism, so that he could imitate my words and do all of the above: refuse, complain, tattle and ask for help, and he DID IT!

Today was a GREAT day!

Let's work together to help children speak, learn and function at higher levels! 

I'm Noelle Michaels, Speech and Learning Specialist.  I help children to use their words functionally, and I truly love my job!  

I am available for families in the North Jersey area to do a FREE 30-minute in-home consultation

I am available via email or phone, and will speak to any parent or professional with questions or concerns for FREE. If you're outside my area, but are interested in me visiting you, let me know.  I may be traveling to your area soon!

CLICK to SUBSCRIBE to This Blog by Email

(You will get an email ONLY when I publish a new post - approx 3 to 5 per month)

For more helpful info from Noelle:

Check for my 15-minute radio shows on my Verbal Apraxia treatments: SPEECH STORIES and DOUGH SHOW (also PICTO-CUES).

Contact me if a parent or professional group wants any training on Verbal Apraxia or other topic, or if you would like to purchase a copy of my Verbal Apraxia book ($8 at a class; $10 by mail - see instructions below).

Check out my youtube channel:
*DORA THE EXPLORER: SNACKademics has almost

Follow me on Twitter:

LIKE me on Facebook:
To order any of my books:
- Verbal Apraxia
- SNACKademics
- The BEST Way To Teach A Child Colors (Or Anything)

By mail: $10 each; money order (inc. postage/shipping)
Made Out To: Noelle Michaels
Send To: 50 Summit Drive, Denville, NJ 07834
Thank you for all your support!

And...if you need help or advice, please contact me!

Noelle Michaels, MA, CCC-SLP, LDT-C
Bilingual Speech Language Pathologist
Special Educator & Learning Specialist
Text: 201-919-4805   






No comments:

Post a Comment