Go with the flow! Teaching Flexibility

dreamstime_s_63599452.jpgEver interact with anyone who has the “my way or no way” view on life? It’s tough, isn’t it! As typical adults, I am sure we can all think of at least 1 friendships over the years that may have not ended well due to overly rigid behavior or perhaps a school or work project we were on as a team that was such a nightmare because of the overly rigid behavior of one or more members.

When we do structured play observations in the office, one of the areas we are looking at is conflict and conflict resolution. Conflict is natural and on it’s own is no big deal, but a high frequency of conflict and small conflicts escalating into larger, longer lasting conflicts is something to be concerned with.

Individuals who are more rigid and see things as black and white, right and wrong, my way or no way are more likely to experience higher rates of conflict. Now think about those around them. The friends, the family members, the co-worker etc who are there with them experiencing the conflict as well. This can be very punishing and present a huge barrier to positive social interactions which overtime can result in the loss of relationships and failure to / difficulty with forming and maintaining new ones.

For theses reasons, we work hard to teach our students to be more “Go with the flow.” This intervention looks very different dependent upon developmental levels. Our early learners who struggle when change is introduced to routines or variation is added in play, are not going to benefit from use of the term “go with the flow” or participation in an intervention with a talking about behavior component. For these learners, systematic desensitization and functional communication training are going to be the meat of the intervention.

For our more advanced learners with more language, we are going to tell them what being rigid and being go with the flow means. We are also going to explain why being too rigid hurts relationships and what we can do to fix that. But we can’t stop there, we also need to practice, practice, practice being go with the flow when conflict strikes and things aren’t quite going our way.

Check out on of Our favorite lessons, The Name Card Flip Game: A Go with the Flow Activity 


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