by Alyse McDonald 5 months ago in teacher

There is always a reason for it and it can be changed.


Hello and thanks for stopping by!

About a year ago, I decided I was going to switch careers and I made a blog post about it. Go check it out when you have a moment!

Anyways, I have learned so much in the past seven months in my EA course (Education Assistant)! I am a licensed Early Childhood Educator (aka ECE), and before I left my job at the end of August, I had been in the ECE field for eight years! I learned a lot during my time as an ECE, but I have learned so much more about children and why they have behaviours! If I had known that this course could have given me all of the tools I have recently learned, I would have taken it a long time ago.

I have learned that ALL behaviours are exhibited for a reason. Children, and even some adults, don't just have 'behaviours' for no reason. There is ALWAYS a reason behind a person's behaviour. Trying to determine the reason for the behaviour isn't always an easy task. Some people are able to verbally discuss and talk about their feelings and why they may be exhibiting certain behaviours. Lack of sleep, a setting event that occurs as a result of a 'bad' or rough morning, can have an effect on your entire day, and such setting events will determine whether you have a good day or a bad day.

How do you feel when you are tired and don't get enough sleep the night before? You feel exhausted, often grumpy until you've had your morning cup of joe. Am I right?! There are so many other things that can happen between the time you get out of bed until you arrive at work.

Now that you have had a moment to think about how you feel when you wake up tired and haven't had your coffee, or you had a rough commute to work, think about how children feel when they wake up feeling the same way.

I have spent the last two weeks in a workshop everyday for a program called POPARD. Look it up! Since taking the EA course and now having taken their two workshops, I can honestly say that I wish these were courses I took when I did my ECE. POPARD stands for 'Provincial Outreach Program For Autism & Related Disorders.' Even though it is a program for children with Autism and related disorders, there are so many tools and strategies that can be used on neurotypical children as well as adults.

If I knew then what I know now, I would have implemented a lot of the tools and strategies that I have learned to help my children learn a task and work towards mastering it using a 'task analysis.' I believe that all children, and even some adults, could benefit from learning a new skill using a task analysis.

What is a task analysis? Well, I am glad you asked. A task analysis is a process in which you take a skill and you break it down in to smaller, measurable steps. You can use a task analysis to teach a child to tie their shoes. You can use it to teach a child to get dressed. It's something that that you do to teach someone something new while supporting them and giving them the skills to eventually be able to master the new skill on their own independently. It is widely used for children with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder), but it can really be used on anyone.

I watched a video today where a dad had his two children make a task analysis to try and see if they were able to break down the tasks into small, exact ,detailed steps. It was quite funny to watch. But it just goes to show you that sometimes some of our children are being asked or taught to do something, but because they are taught in such a fast paced manner, they are not able to really grasp the concepts they are learning in the time that we may expect them to.

A child should only have to master one step in the list of steps that it takes to teach them a new skill. Once they are able to master the first step, they can then move onto the next. We as adults think that things such as handwashing, putting on your shoes, and getting dressed should be easy; however, I think we often set our expectations too high when we should really be considering and remembering that each child is different and unique, and everyone learns at their own pace.

I wish I could honestly explain everything I have learned, and I wish I could go out there and teach all of this new knowledge I have gained to try and help children, both neurotypical or not, and even adults. I feel like once I get more experience, this is something I hope to really dive deeper into. I feel like I have found my calling. What exactly that entails, I am not really sure yet, but I know that I really want to help make a huge positive impact on all of the children that I will be supporting, as well as other children who may not get the support that they need.

If you have a chance to ever take a POPARD course, I highly, highly recommend it. Doing this whole EA course has really opened my eyes and given me a while new perspective on how children develop and how we need to give them more time to really get to know the world around them as well as learn to completely master all of the steps in each new skill that they are taught.

Check out this YouTube video by a guy that goes by the name 'Josh Darnit.' I watched this video with my classmates and we couldn't stop laughing, but it just goes to show you that our children are given steps to master a skill; however, a lot of the time, they are not given enough detailed steps, which results in everyone involved becoming frustrated and stressed because the child is not learning the task fast enough. The father followed the steps that were given to him and he wasn't able to fully master the task until he had ALL of the steps in complete detail. Here is the link.

Now of course there are some children out there that can pick up a skill the first time it is presented to them, but then there are children who take longer to master a skill/task. It is up to us as the adults to give them the necessary tools that they need to help them to be successful.

The next time that you are teaching a child to master a task, make sure that you do it in small, measurable and managable steps. Give them time to successfully master each and every step with support and guidance (hand over hand, gestures, verbal prompts, etc) until they are able to successfully master the entire task on their own without and supports or prompts. Be patient with them. Just because one child was able to comprehend and master a task quickly does not mean the next one will. This goes for parents of young children as well. We need to teach them to be independent, but it needs to be done in a way that is calming for them. Praise the child every time they complete or master a step and over time, they will be able to do things without even being reminded or asked. (Well, they may still need those prompts!)

Remember to be patient with them. They are learning! And the calmer you are, the easier the task will be and the more successful the child will be.

I hope that as I gain more knowledge in this field, that I will be able to continue to write more about it.

Just remember, there is a reason for every behaviour. We can change behaviour. It takes time, effort and work, but in the end it is all worth it.

Thank you for stopping by and reading my post. I hope you enjoyed it.

Until next time.

xoxo Aly.

Alyse McDonald
Alyse McDonald
Read next: The Unconventional College Life
Alyse McDonald

Hello! Welcome to my Vocal page/ Bio!! Thanks for stopping by!

My name is Alyse & I am a mother of 2; 1 son (born 2005) and 1 daughter (born 2009). I am married to my amazing husband Justin. We are the proud owners of a Pitbull; Diesel!

See all posts by Alyse McDonald