Has this happened to you? A student is trying to bargain about not doing speech homework or continues to ask why they need to use their ‘good speech’ skills in class. Perhaps they are ‘stuck’ on a question like so many of my friends on the spectrum can become. So what do you do? Continue to provide the same the response you gave the first time? Ignore it? Try to ignore it then end up engaging the student again?
It can be a vicious cycle. So how can we break it? I came a cross an article that discussed an interesting approach. The article suggests simply responding, “Asked and Answered” ,when this behavior occurs. There is a process to this method to introduce it to a child so they understand what the response means. The explanation is as follows:
1) Ask, “Have you ever heard of ‘Asked and Answered’?” ( They will probably say no.)
2) Ask, “Did you ask me a question about… ?” (They will say yes.)
3) Ask, “Did I answer it?” (They will probably say, “Yes, but, I really ….”)
4) Ask, “Do I look like the kind of mom/dad/teacher who will change her/his mind if you ask me the same thing over and over?” (Chances are they will walk away, maybe with a frustrated grunt, and engage in something else.)
5) If they asks again, simply say, “Asked and Answered.” (No other words are necessary!) Once this technique has been established, these are the only words you should need to say to address questions.
As I read the article and thought about the approach, I began to think how concrete this method was. It was direct and got to the point: a question was asked, you gave and answer, end of story. This may be good to try with my friends on the spectrum who tend to need things delivered in a concrete format, especially when it comes to getting a response they didn’t like.
The article cites SLP, Stacey Pulley, who states that she writes down or draws a picture of a question ( depending on the child’s reading level ) once a child has asked it more than once and you have answered it. Then if the child continues to asked it, you can point to the sentence or picture to help remind then that they have asked and you have answered. With any approach consistency in language and follow through are key! After your students have had the ‘Asked and Answered’ explanation ( steps 1-5 ) it is important to stick to it as best you can.