As a behaviorist, I am constantly being asked to look through pessimistic glasses with an optimistic eye. It is because of this that I view myself as an optimist. But as an optimist, it is also important to be a realist because not all things come out rosy in the end. Why is this so important in what I do, and the mission behind MARC? With all of the cuts to funding, it is important for us to try and do as much, if not more, with far less. This is why we must hope for the best but expect the worst.
When looking at difficult behaviors, it is far too easy to only address the negative while ignoring the positive, but this is so backwards. Ask yourself this . . . do you like to hear how bad you are doing, or how great you are doing? Exactly! All too often, we get into a routine of only addressing negative behavior. When this occurs, we set a precedent for our individuals. People who are not receiving attention, will often engage in problematic behavior, even if it is simply to gain attention. So why not praise people for the positive. Celebrate their successes, no matter how small. We all want to hear what we are doing well. More often than not, we, as caregivers, don’t want to interrupt a good thing, so we pay little attention to it. How do our folks know they are doing well unless we tell them? And it’s not even about doing well; it goes much farther than that. It’s about doing what needs to be done without engaging in negative behaviors. Getting the job done without complaint, completing a task, finishing a picture, self-entertaining, clearing a dish. These are the things that we must focus on, not the tantrums, yelling, or aggression. It’s only by doing this that we provide the best services possible while making the most of a budget crisis.