Participating in non-preferred activities, learning a new skill, and encountering unfamiliar people are all situations that challenge children with disabilities. One skill will help them do better in all three areas--having a positive attitude.
The first step to helping your youngster develop a positive attitude is to demonstrate that perspective yourself. Start with a look in the mirror. When you encounter unexpected challenges, do you rant & rave, or look for solutions? After a confrontation with another adult, do you find yourself very upset, or are you able to let the bad experience go? Before attending a meeting with a professional to discuss your child, do you anticipate a poor outcome and make yourself upset before you even leave home?
When going to a non-preferred activity yourself, try modelling a positive attitude by thinking out loud. Are there some aspects of the event that you do enjoy? Will there be someone there you are looking forward to seeing? Focus on the good thoughts so that your child can be prompted to do the same.
Prior to attending an activity your child does not instinctively like, point out things he or she can enjoy. Encourage positive participation, even if you have to start with just 10 minutes. Then you can reward the good behavior by going to a preferred location, or changing to another activity. The time can be increased during subsequent sessions.
How do you model and teach positive attitudes?