AVT 022

AVT 022

Sabotage Technique



What It Is

Sabotage is a technique where you purposely do something silly or unexpected to provoke a response from the child. A common example is pouring juice from a bottle without taking off the top, when your child wants a drink. This technique can be used with toddlers from about 18 months of age ( sometimes a little earlier). The purpose of this technique is to create surprise, which will usually elicit a verbal response from the child. It also provides a way to make your child think.

How To Use It

With toddlers, you would deliberately do something that is completely unexpected during your child’s daily activities. The example of not taking the top of a juice bottle and pouring is commonly used for this purpose during snack time. Another example is -- while getting dressed -- to put your child’s shirt on his legs or shoes/sandals on his hands. Once you have presented the situation, wait for your child to respond. For a young child, this might be a look of surprise, or, if he can say words, he might express it in words. For an older child, putting his things in wrong places around the house is a good way to use this technique.

Once the child has responded, you need to use the sentence or phrase that expresses what is wrong. For the juice example you might say “ Oh no! Where’s the juice?” or, “ Uh oh! There’s no juice in the cup! What should we do?” When the child tells you either by vocalizing or showing you what to do, verbalize his response and then do it. If your child can use single words - you should make him say “open” or try to say “open the top”. You should model and make your child say a complete sentence if he is older and can do so.

Watch the video clip for an example of this technique being used.

When To Use It

Remember to use this technique during your structured activities. It has the added advantage of providing a break in monotony and comical interlude during a long structured session. In addition, you can use sabotage throughout the day in a variety of daily activities as the opportunities present themselves. You will find that your child will respond verbally much quicker during an activity involving this sabotage. Frequent use of this technique will often help children who are reluctant talkers to respond verbally in natural situations.

Video Clips


Additional Comments

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