The Brain Circuits Underlying Motivation: An Interactive Graphic

What is motivation? The brain systems that govern motivation are built over time, starting in the earliest years of development. These intricate neural circuits and structures are shaped by interactions between the experiences we have and the genes we are born with, which together influence both how our motivation systems develop and how they function later in life.

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In the interactive graphic, hover over or click the labels on the brain regions to learn more about how each region affects motivation, and hover over or click the highlighted text to the left of the brain image to see how those regions interact.

How to Motivate Children: Science-Based Approaches for Parents, Caregivers, and Teachers

What’s the best way to motivate children? The intrinsic motivation to learn about the world around us begins in infancy. This type of motivation can either be encouraged or suppressed by the experiences adults provide for children. Psychological research points to a set of promising approaches that parents and practitioners can use to promote positive motivation and learning during development.

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By age four, your child will be using long sentences with more than one idea, such as “I want to go out and play on the swing.” She will use pronouns (I, you, me, she, he, we), past tense (walked), and some question words (what, who, where, why). Your child understands most concept words like colours, shapes, locations, texture and time. She should be able to follow multiple step directions like “Go to the washroom and brush your teeth.” With the exception of small errors, your child should be understood by most adults.

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In the area of physical development, they begin to walk up stairs on their own, stand on one foot, kick balls, run without falling, and jump off the floor with both feet. Some ideas to keep them busy and help them grow are games that make them change speed and direction (stop and go, run backwards, crawl slowly, clap really fast), and this also helps them learn to follow directions. Knocking things down is really fun too. You can use empty bottles or cartons and a ball to play bowling, or stack up blocks and knock them over.

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I Am Two - Post Card Series for Parents

 How you can help to develop your child’s vocabulary.

While physical growth is greatest in the first year, the year from age 2 to 3 is a prime time for communication gains. Children have between 100-300 words at age 2 and between 500-1000 words by age 3. And those are just the words that a child uses! This is known as expressive language. Receptive language refers to all of the language that the child knows and understands and those words and concepts are significantly higher in number. Since this year is such a huge one for language attainment, adults need to make the most of it.

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At this stage in development children are discovering and exploring the world around them. They are learning about the world through ‘doing’ - through touch, grasp, reach and taste - and through ‘thinking’ about their world and how it works. How you families encourage their learning and exploration in their child through play? To read more: Click Here

The following video also has great ideas for sensory play.

Inclusive Child Care Programs

Children with special needs can receive support from the Inclusive Child Care Program in approved child care centres, family day homes and preschools.

Inclusive Child Care Programs create flexibility to meet the individual needs of children with special needs or disabilities within these child care settings. Support may include training for child care staff, consultation on programming or inclusion, resource and referral information and/or funding for additional staff.

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Which Family Receives Specialized Services for Their Child?

Specialized services is provided based on the individual needs of the child and family when:

  • the child has a severe disability that is significantly limiting their ability to function in normal daily living activities

  • the family needs to provide continual and ongoing assistance and supervision to ensure their child’s safety and ability to participate in normal daily living activities

  • the child has critical service needs in two or more areas, including behaviours, communication and social skills, physical abilities, cognitive abilities, or self-help skills, and

  • the child's and family's service needs can not be met by other programs or services.

The term “severe disability” refers to the degree to which the child is limited in their ability to function in normal daily living activities and the extra care demands this creates for their family.

What is a Multi-Disciplinary Team?

The FSCD Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT) is a group of health professionals established by the FSCD program to provide information to support FSCD in making decisions about providing specialized services and expert advice to families and their service providers about the service plan.

The MDT is made up of the following health professionals who have experience and expert knowledge about services and best practices for children with severe disabilities and their families, including:

  • speech-language pathologists

  • occupational therapists

  • physical therapists

  • psychologists

What does the MDT do?

The MDT reviews and considers information provided by the family, their service provider(s) and other professionals working with the child and makes recommendations to the guardian and the FSCD worker about the need, type and level of specialized services that may be the most helpful for the child and family. The MDT supports families to ensure their plan is based on best practice and will address their child’s needs and family’s goals.

The health professionals participating on the MDT do not see the child, complete clinical assessments or make final decisions about the FSCD services that a child and family receives.

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Specialized Services for Children with Severe Disabilities

Specialized services for children with severe disabilities involves direct support for children and support for families.  Specialized services are individualized and flexible to meet each child’s and family’s unique needs and circumstances, time and priorities, cultural context and values.  Specialized services complement other supports and services that a family already has in place.

Specialized services involves a team of professionals, such as a Speech-Language Pathologist, Occupational  Therapist, Physical Therapist, Psychologist, behavioural specialist and aide.  The specialized services team works directly with a child to determine the strategies and approaches that will work best to help the child learn skills and participate in everyday routines.

Parents determine what their involvement looks like and this can change over time. Parents are not expected to provide direct services or intervention to their child, and are not required to be in the room or participating when services are being provided to their child.  The team works with parents to identify the approaches that will fit best for the child and family, based on their unique needs and circumstances.