• Elisa Ferriggi

4 Tips to Developing Growth Mind set


When something feels good, we want more of it. Likewise, when we feel that we are good at something we want to do it more. This helps build our confidence and expertise in the area. The problem comes when we only want to do what we are good at and nothing else. I often see, alongside autism, a fixed mind set; when a person only wanted to do what they are good at, only if they can be the best, the winner, the first. Of course, a bit of healthy competition is good but bad sportsmanship, being a sore looser and resisting new opportunities– no so good!


Limiting oneself means the growth seeking part doesn’t develop nor strengthen and instead we engage a fixed mind set, failing to take opportunities to learn, stretch out of the comfort zone and grow- practicing things that are difficult and taking on challenges. So here are some ideas to help your child develop a growth mind set, if they are noticing more of a fixed mind set.


1. Praise the effort, not the outcome – perhaps you’ve heard this advice before? To put this into practice we move away from saying things like ‘well done!’ ‘Good boy!’ ‘You’re the best!’ ‘This is amazing!’ To more useful feedback about how they have concentrated, tried, put in effort and paid attention to certain aspects of what they are doing.

2. Avoid games where there is a clear winner or loser – for the fixed mind set this set up is guaranteed not to end well. You may have already experienced it yourself – tantrums, meltdowns, cheating, making others loose, tears etc.? Instead aim for games where collaboration and teamwork is the focus. At least until growth mind set begins to arise. Then try these games again.

3. Use mantras and model ideas. The brain is an experience dependent organ, so it learns through experiences but it is also susceptible to repeated phrases and mantras that go into the subconscious. The more you model phrases like ‘it’s the teamwork that counts’, ‘winning is nice but it’s more fun to take part’, ‘I love a challenge’, ‘it’s boring when it’s easy’ etc. the more it sinks in and becomes a new way.

4. Present opportunities for challenges and model this too. Be mindful of how you present yourself – are you demonstrating a fixed mind set unintentionally? Make sure you are modelling learning new things, taking on challenges and pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone. Also provide opportunities for your child to do this too – don’t always go for the easy option.


If you would like support in helping your child develop more of a growth mind set please contact Elisa on elisa@thinkautism.co.uk

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