Monday on a supervision visit I was pleasantly surprised to receive a Valentine’s day gift. The child and therapist then proceeded to make a huge Valentine’s poster for his parents. They didn’t use the traditional colors, nor were there any typical love messages, but he was quiet engaged in the activity and of course the parents were thrilled with their gift at the end of the session. I was glad to see that the therapist followed the child’s motivation throughout the process. The child had the opportunity to request for paint, paint brushes, scented markers, sponges cut out in the shape of hearts, glitter, and glue.
The therapist had strong instructional control, and could have placed more demands and guided the child to make a more traditional Valentine’s craft, but she realized it was more important to get the child manding (requesting), then to follow her own vision of what the craft should look like. It is essential that we follow a child’s motivation when doing mand training, otherwise it is not truly a mand and will not be maintained.