So far, we have focused on indoor skills and so I wanted to make a change this entry and work on an important outdoor activity for all parents, therapists, and caregivers. Today, we will be going over the steps for crossing the street. Crossing the street can be a very stressful and distracting activity and so it is important to rehearse these steps as much as possible to make it easier and safer for both children and parents.
For crossing the street, you may want to consult with your licensed professional on possibly using a Token system as handling edible reinforcers or other reinforcers during this type of training could be dangerous for you and your child’s safety.
New definition for us today… Token System is a reward system that can be managed by awarding points, smiley faces, or check marks, for positive behaviors and taking away points, giving sad faces, or X’s for negative or incorrect behaviors. When your child has reached a set goal of positive marks, they are awarded a reinforcer, which you will remember is….
Reinforcer- something the person really wants (rewards, items, activity, attention, etc.)
Step 1: Holding hands or staying nearby for safety
- The point of this step, depending on your child’s age, is to promote safety and security of your child and you should reinforce them every so often when they are holding your hand appropriately or walking near you at an appropriately safe distance.
Step 2: Approaching the crosswalk
- During this step, you are teaching your child to walk up to the crosswalk with you and wait until the traffic sign changes from stop to walk. It is important to note in order to be successful your child must be able to identify the stop walking as well as the walk signal. If necessary speak to your licensed professional to arrange retraining of pedestrian signs.
If there is no crosswalk, such as on a quiet residential street, proceed with great caution as your child may not be ready to master this skill without the help of a crosswalk.
Step 3: Crosswalk sign changes
- Next, we want to remind the child that when the signal changes to walk we do not automatically walk. First we wait, look both ways to make sure no one is coming, and then you will give the okay to cross the street.
Step 4: Crossing the Street
- In this last step we want to remind the child we must quickly cross the street without stopping until reaching the other side of the street.