Research About Motivation

Junior (College 3rd year) ・Psychology ・APA ・2 Sources

Motivation is the driving force behind our activities, or what drives us to act. It involves social, emotional, and cognitive forces that influence behavior. Intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation are the two types of motivation (Young & Hauser-Cram, 2006). Intrinsic motivation occurs when an individual does something willingly and derives great pleasure and satisfaction from that activity rather than because he or she has been promised a reward, whereas extrinsic motivation occurs when an individual performs an activity in order to keep a promise or avoid punishment.An example of extrinsic motivation is in the case of a student who studies hard to pass his exams because the parents have promised to buy him a gift of his choice when and if he does pass.

Children often require frequent motivation from their parents, teachers and those around them to be able to do their daily tasks and do them well. However, children with special needs require more attention and effective techniques are required to help motivate them because such kids find it challenging to process and understand information and thus they can have difficulties in carrying out activities such as reading, writing, talking, self- grooming among others. Such kids are usually more extrinsically motivated than intrinsically motivated and therefore it is vital for the people in these children's lives to understand this concept and to look for techniques that will work to motivate these kids (Young & Hauser-Cram, 2006). Also, it is important for their parents to seek professional help if need be by hiring occupational therapists or other specialists to further assist them in caring and nurturing these kids to be independent.

I want to go into occupational therapy because my goal in life is to help children with special needs to achieve their developmental milestones. It would be quite fulfilling for me to see these kids be able to perform their daily activities such as go to school and learn, enjoy playing with their peers and be able to properly groom themselves since such tasks are not usually easy for these kids to do. I grew up in an environment where parents and the society at large strive hard to ensure that their children become successful in achieving their life goals as well as feel loved, appreciated, cared for (Young & Hauser-Cram, 2006). Therefore, important for me to be able to impact a child's life positively and to see him/her prosper in life and that is precisely why I chose this career. I have gained tremendous knowledge about motivation, particularly, the differences between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation about children and their behavior. I know that in future I will be able to put this knowledge to good use when dealing with children with special needs since now I know exactly what to do to motivate these kids into doing what needs to be done.

Children with special needs should be given special rewards based on their interests and preferences every time they accomplish a task that they were supposed to do. These rewards are important because they serve as motivation for these children and so prompt them to do the task at hand since they are aware that after it all they are going to get rewarded by something that they like (Young & Hauser-Cram, 2006). The following are some of the techniques to effectively motivate a child with special needs:

Individuals with disabilities often get easily bored and distracted. If they keep doing the same task over and over again, it gets monotonous, and it reaches a point where they cannot stand it anymore and refuse to do it anymore, and when forced to do it they throw tantrums (Findler, Jacoby & Gabis, 2016). It is therefore very important to always come up with new interesting ways of doing something to engage these kids. For instance, in a classroom setting, a teacher can introduce a fun dance to help the kids learn a new concept, and such an approach will be loved by the kids as it is more enjoyable as opposed to sitting down in class everyday learning.

Persons with disability get irritated easily and are quite sensitive. They get very frustrated when they are forced to engage in activities that they do not enjoy. It is therefore very important for parents and teachers to ask the child what they feel like doing instead of forcing them into doing an activity. An example is, at school during the physical exercise class, the teacher should make a point of asking the child what game they would like to play. By doing so, the child will enjoy playing the game of his/her choice and will not act out since these children usually are rebellious and cause tantrums when forced to do something that they do not enjoy doing (Findler, Jacoby & Gabis, 2016). The same goes into choosing of music instruments; such a child should always be allowed to choose the instrument of their choice. Forcing them to play the piano yet they want to play the violin, for example, will only frustrate this child who is naturally more sensitive than the other children.

As already established children with special needs are different from other children, they are more sensitive to some things. These children often feel inadequate and different, and so it is vital always to compliment them for a task well done. For example, if the child answers a question correctly in class, the teacher should complement the child as this will motivate the child to participate more in class (Findler, Jacoby & Gabis, 2016). If they are doing well in a certain sport, the teacher, as well as the parents, should acknowledge this and encourage the child to keep at it. These simple praises go a very long way in motivating the child to keep doing well. Other ways positive reinforcing the child include writing special praise notes for the kids so that when they read them, they feel extra special, openly praising them in class or when at home praising than in front of everyone.


Every child is important and for those children with special needs, it is vital that they are made to feel special, wanted, cared for, appreciated by those close to them. The society is tasked with providing the best kind of environment for these kids to thrive in and that is why it is very important to come up with the best ways of motivating these kids to perform their tasks well and to be able to blend into the community just like everyone else. Without this external help, it would be more difficult for these children to fit in and be the best versions of themselves. Psychology goes a long way in helping people uncover and understand why these children are the way they are, how their minds operate and the best way to help them be more comfortable and productive just like the rest of the people in the society.


Findler, L., Jacoby, A. K., & Gabis, L. (2016). Subjective happiness among mothers of children with disabilities: The role of stress, attachment, guilt and social support. Research in developmental disabilities, 55, 44-54.

Young, J. M., & Hauser-Cram, P. (2006). Mother-child interaction as a predictor of mastery motivation in children with disabilities born preterm. Journal of Early Intervention, 28(4), 252-263.

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