ENABLING -  "The Work"

Lay out the Rails. Shine.




Are you ready to get going? Here you will find some simple key rails to focus on: Start Small, Make it Fun, Lead the Way and Focus on Success. Can you go wrong? Yes. But write down your lessons learned, and use them the next time.



Autism & ADHD Made Easy


    Start Small

  • Narrow Goals
  • Level Details
  • Build on what is Working


    Make it Fun

  • Choose the Fun Way
  • Fun & Rewarding Breaks
  • Praise & Thumbs Up
  • Small Rewards at End


    Lead the Way

  • Take Charge
  • Model the Behavior
  • Use Progress Cards


    Focus on Success

  • Adjust for Today's Mood
  • Stop before Distress
  • 8 of 10 Successful Tries 


Before You Start Laying Out the Rails for Your Child…

Make sure that you have read all the instructions in the About pages under KNOWING, DECIDING and ENABLING. If you have, then most of the information here should make sense.


Start Small

Don’t get overly ambitious. Narrow down what you are doing and know what you are not. Make sure you don’t overload your child. Think about how you can break down and present your mission. Also try to build on what is already working, instead of throwing in some breaking changes.

Even if starting small, you still may want to give the full picture upfront to your child. Tell the child that this is what you will do together, but here is where you will start the first days. One way of starting small but showing the full picture is the example below that teaches the child to stay longer and longer in bed when transitioning to his or her own room. As the child progresses, he or she gets one star more each day.


Pictograms in card from


Make it Fun

Choose the funniest way of doing it all. Be critical to your approach and ask yourself how you could make this more fun. Look around the Rails & Shine framework for inspiration. If what you are doing is demanding a lot from your child’s skills, make sure to include fun and rewarding breaks for just a few minutes every quarter or more, and one longer for each hour. It is good to know for how long your child generally can focus on new tasks between breaks and in total – on a good day, and on a bad. This is useful information to share to others working with your child. Reward each step on the way. Decide in advance where you think your child needs a reward, rest or fun break.

Praise should be given along the way, and if it motivates your child, then you may provide a small reward at the end. Breaks can also include incentives and be a reward in themselves – you could blow bubbles, spin a wheel or read a few pages, whatever works for you!



Lead the Way

Your child needs guidance from you. Don’t be afraid of taking charge in a positive way, gently pushing your child forwards. This is better than placing the responsibility on your child, by asking too many questions about if he or she wants to do this, or how you should go about things. If you feel you have to ask your child to get a sense of what will work, then you should provide two ready choices. Use progress cards or instructions with actions to make it clear as to what you expect from your child. Then you can tick of or place a sticker as each task gets completed. Also consider using tools from the Expectations in Advance Goal, as a way of introducing other tools.


You could also model the expected behavior yourself, or have sibling or classmates also doing it.


Image by Flickr/kretyen

Focus on Success

Each day is a new one and you need to adjust your expectations and intensity of your mission to the state and mood of your child each and every day. This means scanning for levels of energy and stress, and from that you determine today’s ability to perform. Things can also change from moment to moment, so you need to keep this in mind at all times. Yesterday the child might have been able to button his coat or write his name, but not today; today that is putting to high demands on the child compared to the resources your child has at that moment. Maybe your child has not slept or eaten properly, has a stomach pain, is anxious about something, has an extra busy schedule or just needs to go to the toilet.

As a part of adjusting to the state and mood of your child, you will make sure to stop long before reaching the breaking point. If you think that your child can do more, then take a closer look at your incentives and at how you better can motivate the child. Your goal should be stretching your child gently, and keeping it to around 8 successful tries of 10.







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