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Problem Solving Strategies


  • Encourage your child to ask questions.  Reinforce the “best question” asked during a conversation.  Remind them the only poor question is the one which is not asked.


  • Your child seems to hurry through tasks without regard to quality of performance.  Improve quality by breaking the task into smaller parts and tasking them out one at a time – praising the quality work for each part.  One example might be “cleaning their room” which can be broken into at least six or seven parts e.g. making the bed, picking up all foreign objects from the floor, polishing the brass headboard, etc.


  • Encourage your child to continue using the APIE problem-solving strategy.  The APIE format is comprised of four parts:  Assess the problem, Plan solutions, Implement action plan, and evaluate the outcome.  Often your child will jump right into the implementation phase.  We have come to view that as their way of assessing the situation.


  • When your child is feeling frustrated, encourage them to take a personal “time out” or “time away” so they can collect their thoughts and return to solve the problem.


  • If a task is too daunting or complex, break it into smaller parts and complete it one step at a time.


  • Encourage your child to keep a positive attitude even when frustrated.  Stay inquisitive even when he appears to be shutting down.


  • Encourage your child to continue goal-setting.  Work with them to ensure goals are realistic and measurable.  Put the goals in writing and evaluate progress.  Too often goal setting resembles making New Year’s resolutions.  Encourage your child to set one goal in each domain:  social, physical, cognitive or academic, spiritual.


  • Contrary to the counsel of some professionals, many of them educators, be careful to avoid a “sink or swim” mentality.  Drowning has no therapeutic benefit.  Your child will likely need the additional support(s) you provide for a longer period.  Some of their delays are equivalent to one-third of their chronological age.


For more information or targeted strategies regarding your child’s specific strengths or challenges contact our Family Support Coordinator, Dr. Liz Simpson (Liz@soarnc.org).