The Skill Card Program


What is the skill card program?
The skill card program is a behavioural strategy designed for children between the ages of 6 and 11 who are having important difficulties at home or in school. This approach is appropriate for use by parents, teachers, teacher-aids, or other care givers involved with the child. The program consists in helping the child correct or improve specific problem behaviours through systematic and consistent monitoring and by the giving of small
timely rewards. The approach is effective for those children with severe problems in the area of impulsivity, inattention and explosive bouts of anger. It is also effective for children who refuse to participate in class room activities by being overly passive or disruptive. These are the children that are typically described by many as out of control and unresponsive, or as slackers and work avoiders. Children with a diagnosis of A.D.H.D., A.D.D., Oppositional Defiant Disorder, or Impulse Control Problem are particularly good candidates for this approach. The Skill Card Program, is reward oriented and like most reward programs, is especially effective as a strategy to start new behavior. This means that it is best used as a means of getting a child to do something positive such as his homework at night, his math during math period, or to socialize appropriately on the school yard. It is a less effective strategy for stopping
behavior such as teasing or fighting, although it can be used for this purpose. Punishment strategies are often seen as more effective for stopping behavior.

Where does this idea come from?
The skill card program is a behavioural training intervention that
has been adapted for use both at home and at school. Behaviour
therapies are based on the concept that if you give a reward for a
certain activity, the child will tend to do that activity again in
the future. The difference between behavioural programs and
simply rewarding kids for being good is that the behavior program

tries to be more structured and more specific about what is to be
rewarded and how it will be rewarded. The skill card program is also inspired by the social skills movement that has become so important in the last 20 years in
America. This approach is built on the notion that a child’s poor functioning is not a premeditated attempt on their part to make adult lives miserable. It is rather symptomatic of the child’s failure to learn appropriate ways of functioning in his peer
group, in class and with his family. Social skills teachers hold that these skills can be taught and that when the child learns them, their lives get better. The skill card system integrates both of these approaches by creating a learning situation in which specific relationship skills are taught and then rewarded when they are practiced. It is a system that also constructively involved every important adult in the child’s life.

If you are a licensed mental health care professional and you
want to receive a copy of the skill card program free of
charge you can contact us and we will gladly forward you the

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