Pretending to be Normal Liane Holliday Willey, EdD [email protected] www.aspie.com Who Are We? We are not bound by social class, gender, culture, race or geographic lines We are capable of lovely lives We have a neurobiological difference A Peek Inside an ASD Mind Subjective rules make no sense How can I know how to behave? Reality or Pretend? Propaganda or Truth? Is that real? Why does everyone lie? Am I a fool? Routines Are Never Routines Is Anything / Anyone Dependable? Special Interests are not Often Appreciated, Supported or Encouraged Why is this perseveration ok And this one not? Non-Verbal Inaccuracies IS he angry – with me??? I am listening! You need to listen to me! I thought he liked me… You asked for opinions?!? help Motor Skills Challenges Linguistics Folly We aren’t deliberately rude, but… Literal Context Clues ☐ = We have our own lexicon Word Comprehension, Social Language, The Assumptions… That lady is just plain rude. You are just making things I think my up to get attention neighbor is emotionally disturbed. You are not trying your How would you feel? What would you do? I got by with a little help from.. Books Neighbors Civic Groups Animals Water Therapy Repetitive Movements (Stimming) Sensory Deprivation Teachers Doctors Terminology Even After the Support, There Will be Challenges Self- Affirmation Pledge I am not defective. I am different. I will not sacrifice myself worth for peer acceptance. I am a good and interesting person. I will take pride in myself. I am capable of getting along with society. I will ask for help when I need it. I am a person who is worthy of others' respect and acceptance. I will find a career interest that is well suited to my abilities and interests. I will be patient with those who need time to understand me. I am never going to give up on myself. I will accept myself for who I am. Liane Holliday Willey, Asperger Syndrome in the Family: Redefining Normal Language Supports • • • • Think it don’t say it Write it in a journal Script appropriate replies & inquiries Teach literary terms: idioms, metaphors, subtext & sarcasm, similes – Readwritething.org • • Teach propaganda Beware your own speech doesn’t confuse – Be concrete – Check for understanding Teach word histories & origins Teach euphemisms Teach conversation skills Encourage Aspie to question & not fear asking- “What did you mean?” • • • • • • Realize the Aspie’s language is not technically wrong, just precise & very dependent on definition of terms, background schema & context. Discuss & illustrate other examples of the same thoughts that could have been expressed more simply or more naturally. For example, “My shoes lost their tensile strength” could be “My shoes sole broke” Social Interaction Supports • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Form a social skills group Directly teach the rules of friendship – Realize there are different types of friendship Use cartoons and drawings to illustrate positive vs. negative social behavior – Goofus and Gallant Use graphs to chart positive reactions to rocky situations Teach situations and places and people to avoid- leave nothing and no one out! Offer tons of hands-on observing – Build that schema!! Establish a safe place and safe people to seek out when the need arrives Establish social behavior groups, but include NT kids, too Teach nonverbal communication skills Teach the exceptions to the rule Rehearse personal space Establish a peer aid Pay a friend / hire a bully If necessary keep the Aspie out of unstructured work groups Use movies, TV shows and plays to illustrate appropriate social behavior and inappropriate behavior Perseveration Supports • Be careful when teaching subjects with potentially disturbing images (history and language arts) – Add a transition image following the intense image Establish a safe place for self-dialogue Provide exercises that helps the Aspie have a self-regulated program for obsessing. For example, “Write down your thoughts on this piece of paper, then put the paper in this box. Put the box away for X amount of time. Think about the thoughts ONLY when you open the box.” Know that when the interest has to be put aside, the transition to change or stop might be traumatic Use the special interest as a motivator, reward & calming tool Praise effort Bring the special interest into the academic setting or to family gatherings, etc. Time with the interest as a reward for appropriate behavior General Supports • • • • • • • • • Defend Aspie individuality Social script Hear perseverations Calm the Aspie Interpret the world for the Aspie Provide (or find some one to) whatever assistance seems necessary Encourage the Self Affirmation pledge Do your homework: read material that fits your situation, stay ahead of new ideas and form the ideas that make sense for the personal situation at hand Study and apply safety issues including how to address and interact with first responders, strangers, new situations, etc.