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May 30, 2011


melissa aka equidae

its got wonderful insight that showed me more on what i was thinking unconsciously than all the books i can ever read. thanks

Marilyn Foster

Jenny.....you write so beautifully....it's such a gift to be able to read this blog and follow Heath's incredible progress....thank-you! Marilyn Foster


This is a hugely important topic and I loved the post. With vision therapy, rewards helped kickstart things for Stella. I felt that as she was turning two years old and just starting therapy, it was unfair to expect most of these tough activities to be inherently rewarding. They were painful to her eyes (at least very uncomfortable and extremely challenging both emotionally and physically) with hardly a trace of immediate pay-off in visual improvement (in fact sometimes it gets worse initially, with more double vision, strain, headaches, etc). And she didn't understand why we were doing them though I tried to explain. (To her, she could see fine. It's what she knew.) I loved the video you posted on Facebook about Aimee Mullins and her grueling PT (that she didn't find rewarding) and how that doctor re-framed those giant rubber bands by saying "You're a strong, powerful little girl. I'll give you $100 when you break one of those bands." There was an artificial incentive but more important than the reward was the message he sent with it. I think that the problem is, as you suggest, continual/constant reliance on meaningless rewards. Special, well positioned rewards here and there in life, presented thoughtfully (unexpectedly?) and with real purpose, may have a place, and could be powerful messages as happened for Aimee. Sometimes we parents jump to them too quickly to ease our own anxiety, not theirs! I may have done that with potty training due to my own impatience and mental timeline--oops! Sounds like you regard the chocolate chips for crawling the same way as he did have some inherent motivation and was simply going at his own pace. Bravo for being so incredibly self-aware and in tune with Heath. You are really a role model to me in these areas. Thanks for sharing.


Hi there, I thought I left a comment before (it was too long anyway) but apparently it got lost in the interwebs. Just wanted to say I agree. Small meaningless rewards are out! The only kind that make sense is the one Aimee Mullins talked about, when she was called a strong little girl and that she'd earn $100 if she broke those bands she hated. I used rewards for VT at first with Stella, because there was really nothing intrinsically rewarding about it at first--it actually just made her eyes feel strained. Now they're not necessary. I definitely used them too much for potty training--because I was trying to move on a timeline for me/preschool instead of letting her go at her own intrinsically motivated pace (oops).... thanks again.

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Jenny.....you write so beautifully!

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