Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The 'Accountable Kids' Program

A family recently shared with us a strategy that they are using a home. It’s called “Accountable Kids” and we decided to check this out to find out more about it. It is not specifically marketed for kids with special needs, but we feel like it can certainly be adapted to meet all kid's needs. The simplified explanation is that it is basically a daily “to-do list” for your child that includes chores and basic responsibilities he or she is expected to complete at home. Each ‘Accountable Kids’ kit includes a board with various pegs to hang all of the cards on. The cards are divided into morning, afternoon, and evening responsibilities and the board also has a place for the child to earn tickets for completing the chores.  These tickets can be cashed in to earn a special reward decided on by the parents, like computer or television time etc. If after the entire day, your child has completed the expected chores, then he/she earns a star that can go towards a special “date card” or quality time spent with a person of the child’s choice. There is also an opportunity for kids to complete bonus or additional chores for money. 

  • This product really shows kids what they are supposed to do in a way that they can see and feel. 
  • By showing children what their responsibilities are, parents won't find themselves repeating themselves over and over again. Although they are referred to as “chores,” the cards include basic daily routine activities, such as getting dressed, brushing teeth—many activities that we hear parents need to remind their children to do on a regular basis.
  • We like the way that the child is supposed to flip the card over and move it over to the next peg once the chore is completed and then can see what responsibility comes up afterward.
  • The pictures on the card aid in understanding, especially for children who are not fluent readers. 
  • This program also offers to-go kits, which may be particularly useful for children on the autism spectrum because holidays, trips, and other non-routine events may produce increased anxiety. 
  • The tickets are a nice way for kids to see that they are working towards a goal; however, parents need to be careful to assess whether or not the child understands this cause-and-effect principle. 
  • In this program tickets can be taken away if a child exhibits a poor behavior. This may be difficult for some children on the autism spectrum and you want to make sure that your child understands this concept.
  • The idea of receiving stars to earn quality time with a loved one is a nice idea and a great way to teach reaching a long term goal, but we often find that many children with ASD do better with immediate rewards. Therefore, if your child seems to have a difficult time understanding this concept, we recommend shortening the time required to earn a reward by simply cutting the “date card” to a time limit you think your child can handle. And, the reward does not have to be a “date card,” it could simply be playing a favorite game with a person of your child’s choice. Also, there are specific cards for church and prayers so of course, if your family is not religious, then you do not need to use these. 
  • Lastly, although this product is marketed for children ages 3-14, the materials are presented in a more youthful way, which may particularly turn off older children—especially if it is not presented at an earlier age.

Our Verdict: It’s a Winner! Although this program is not inexpensive ($45 for the basic kit), it includes picture-word cards that are already made for you so you don’t have to find yourself searching all over the internet for pictures and then taking the time to make sure they are sturdy enough to withstand the test of time! Some assembly is required for this program. If you are willing to adapt this program to your child’s specific needs, it’s a great place to start! Please let us know if you have used “Accountable Kids” and what you think of it!


1 comment:

  1. Wow that looks awesome, what a great way to make kids LOVE learning!!