Hi everyone and thanks for visiting our blog. My wife and I created this blog to chronicle our experience while raising a son with Asperger's syndrome. Since our son was diagnosed with an ASD at age 5, we've had a lot of questions. Lucky for us we have a great support network in place. And our blog gives us an opportunity to share what we've learned with our readers. We hope you find our blog informative and interesting. Thanks again for visiting.

"It seems that for success in science and art, a dash of autism is essential." Dr Hans Asperger 1906-1980

Saturday, 21 January 2012


In our experience with Asperger's syndrome, we as parents, have tried many different ways to reward our son's positive behaviour at school.  We would take him swimming or to the park or maybe buy him a special gift.  The only drawback in this type of reward system is, that if your child goes on a run of rough days in class, it's not fair to deny all the fun things you could do together.  After much research and learning, we found a fantastic tool that we've easily implemented.  We use a sticker reward calendar.  Each child with autism/Asperger's might be different in what works and what doesn't, but a reward calendar is a cheap idea and can be very effective in improving and promoting good behaviour.

You can use any calendar you like.  At first, we just used a regular calendar we had, but shortly after, we decided to get a more child friendly calendar.  When we had a regular calendar, Jacob noticed, but wasn't that impressed.  But when we got him a Twisted Whiskers calendar, he really took notice and became interested.  So we do recommend a cartoon or a sports calendar.  They're relatively inexpensive and you can find one with any characteror team on them.  I've seen Sponge Bob, Looney Tunes and Harry Potter on calendars, so finding your child's favourite should be easy.

Then we went to a dollar store and found hundreds of stickers we could use.  You should however, try to find smaller stickers.  That way you get more for your money and they'll fit into the squares on the calendar.  Right now we have some star stickers and some little animal stickers.  During the Christmas holiday we had some snowmen and snow flake ones.  There are literally thousands of them and each dollar store carries different styles, so the sticker choices are endless.

What we did was, we installed a cork bulletin board in our hallway.  Not only do we put important items for us on it, but it also holds Jacob's stickers and calendar.  We just hung the calendar at Jacob's height for easy reaching.  Then we divide each school day in half.  The left half of the square is the morning and the right half is the afternoon.  When Jacob comes home for lunch, if he had a good morning, he'll get 1 sticker.  Then when he comes home after school, he gets 1 more if he had a good afternoon.  So it's possible to get 2 stickers a day.  If your child doesn't come home for lunch, you can still reward them with 1 or 2 stickers, depending on their day.  During a week, there's a possible 10 stickers to achieve.  So then you can create an overall reward program that's visible for your child. 

Number of Stickers (per week)                  Reward

5 or 6                                                        Dinner at their favourite restaurant

7 or 8                                                        Dinner as above and movie night

9 or 10                                                      Dinner, movie and a toy

These are just examples of rewards that you can use.  You can go on a picnic or to the park if you're on a budget.  The choices with rewards are very open.  You can even take the rewards a step further and develop monthly rewards.  During a month, there's approximately 20 school days or 40 stickers.  If your child has a great month, maybe you could speak with their school about a special reward to help solidify the good class room behaviour.

We noticed that Jacob's behaviour began to improve almost immediately after beginning a sticker reward calendar.  When a child sees their calendar fill up with shiny stickers, it gives them a sense of accomplishment and it can help them in wanting to have good and productive days while at school.  And for those of us with kids with autism/Asperger's, we know how easy their day can be off, so if a sticker reward calendar helps, then it's definitely worth it.

Not only special needs children can benefit from a sticker reward calendar.  This type of reward system can work with any child, boy or girl.  When Jacob was diagnosed with Asperger's at age 6 we were shocked.  But the diagnosis did in fact, explain a lot about Jacob's behaviour and issues at school.  A sticker reward calendar was an effective way to modify his behaviour positively.  Now that we've been using it for 2 school years, we can't imagine not having it.  We've even began giving a new calendar to Jacob as a Christmas gift each year.  This way he'll always have a new calendar for back to school.  The entire calendar/sticker purchase is under $20 and that's with a years worth of stickers.  So try it out, and if it works, it sure beats buying all those Nintendo DS games.

This is Jacob's reward calendar.  I'd just like to say as Jacob's father, I had no influence over his choice of hockey team.


  1. We have a felt board on a wall off our kitchen we use for this. It still has a lot of PECS on it, but we really don't need those anymore so I have to switch over to make a permanent sticker area. We now just use sheets of paper, with the goal, and what needs to be done to earn. We have really small goals at this point, though, like what she needs to do for an afternoon, then she earns small prize. The larger goals, or stuff that takes longer to earn, don't work out as well yet. They were doing that at school, but have had to reign it in there, too. K is SO highly motivated by the stickers, but if something is too far off (like at school she was having to earn 20 stickers) things can get sticky. Her behavior is much better right now when she knows that prize is close. It really is amazing how big of a motivator it is.

  2. The truth is, that if something works, use it. Sometimes Aspie kids can be motivated by something very simple. What a relief as a parent it is when stickers can help your child act appropriately when we're not around.