Still on vacation in Autismia, trying to learn the ways of the native culture.
Already our little excursion has borne fruit.
Anita reported that when our “big guy” with ASD became agitated last week she was able to see his behavior for what it was, and knew all to well from experience where it was going. Instead of trying to reason with him, she just said, “Hey, buddy, would you like to play a quiet game of checkers with me in another room?
“Sure would, bud,” he replied. The time spent was more than worth it and, needless to say, Anita got whupped at checkers!
Last week we began watching a dvd by Carol Gray, who pioneered the use of “social stories” to help people with autism spectrum disorders (ASD).
Think about Kafka and the “faceless” bureaucracy.
No, on second thought, don't.
The point is, if you can't read faces, they all look the same.
Social stories for people with ASD are like the old Dragnet TV shows: “Just the facts, ma'm.” They seek to present information that a person with ASD is not able to intuit or deduce from the whirlwind of sensory information swirling around him. They help work around some of the common traits of ASD, like tactile defensiveness (not wanting to be touched).
Here's an example of a social story written to help a child who needs to get a haircut:
When my hair gets long I need a haircut.
It is important to have a haircut so I look good.
I will look different with my haircut. Looking different is ok.
My hair will grow back again.
When I have my hair cut we will go to see (name of hairdresser) – insert photo
I will sit in the chair quietly.
The haircut may tickle but it will not hurt
When the haircut is finished mum will say “finished now” and I can get out of the chair.
Mum will be happy, the hairdresser will be happy.
My hair will look different and it will look good.
This week we start writing social stories of our own. First we'll write them for one another, and then next week we'll explore how to write them for our Ranchers.
Photo courtesy: http://www.visualphotos.com