• Quote of the Day
    "There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered."
    Nelson Mandela, posted by Daniel

Peanut

Member
Joined
Aug 1, 2005
Messages
1,083
Points
36
I had kind of a sad experience at the park today. I took a boy with autism to the park to work and then play as a reward. We work on pragmatic language skills which encompasses how to approach and interact with peers. As the boy was heading toward the Merry Go Round we talked about how he would approach the other kids and ask if he could get on the Merry Go Round with them. He went up and did really well, asking "Can I get on too?" but with a different intonation than would be totally typical. The kids (who were with their mom) just stared at him and got off. The mom made a feeble attempt, telling her kids, "You don't have to get off". They didn't respond and she just looked at me and shrugged. Then, the boy who I was with noticed this and just turned and walked away. Right away the other kids hopped right back on the Merry Go Round. I thought it was so sad and hurtful. Anyway, I would just like to remind parents of typical children that facilitating interaction with a child with special needs not only helps that child learn and practice social skills, but also offers and opportunity to teach your children some humanity toward those less fortunate. These are life skills that will yield a benefit far greater than the lesson that I felt was conveyed to these other children, which is to just avoid and not respond to people who are a bit different from you. Although this was sad to see, I was proud of the boy I was with, because in this case he displayed stronger social skills than the other people that were at the park today.
 
Joined
Jun 11, 2006
Messages
5,390
Points
36
it may be that this mother wasn't really sure how to respond but i bet it had her thinking after the fact. sometimes something will happen that has me unsure on how to respond and i end up handling a situation in an awkward way. it does lead me to think about what happened though and what i wish i had done differently. i imagine it probably got her thinking and she's probably talked to her kids about it afterwards - i think i might feel a bit awkward as a mom to start explaining to my kids on the spot in front of you and the boy that he's different but that it doesn't mean we should reject him.
 

Peanut

Member
Joined
Aug 1, 2005
Messages
1,083
Points
36
That is good to hear, thank you for providing that perspective. Recently, I've noticed a lot of things like this happening and it just seems a little sad. One of our other boys who is the most cheerful, friendly boy you would ever meet had a birthday party. At the end of the party his dad made an emotional speech to the group. He said that through the entire year at the boy's public school he didn't get invited to a single birthday party, and that he was really touched by the support of the boy's friends and their families from our private school. In many cases just like this, I guess I just wanted to emphasize that, despite how difficult social skills are for these kids, they do try very hard and when it's reciprocated at all it means a lot in terms of helping them out and also their families and the people who work with them.

One professor I had answered the question, "What if you're next to someone in the store who is different for xyz reason, what do you say when you're child asks that awkward question?" He had the greatest response, it went something like, (in an excited voice), "Isn't it cool how everyone is so different? It makes the world such an awesome interesting place to live in!" And I think that is a response you could say in front of anyone. That wasn't exactly how he said it, but I love the message.
 
Joined
Jun 11, 2006
Messages
5,390
Points
36
thanks for sharing that arose! now i know how to handle that situation best. i've feared running into it at some point with my kids, and hadn't found a satisfactory solution just yet. great input :)
 

just mary

Member
Joined
Nov 3, 2004
Messages
754
Points
16
I like the response of your teacher, it's acknowledging that the person is different but that it's a postive not a negative.

Thanks for sharing your story. It was sad but I'm glad you told us about it. It's nice to know that there are people out there like you who are understanding and empathetic.

jm
 

Peanut

Member
Joined
Aug 1, 2005
Messages
1,083
Points
36
Thanks guys for your support! I feel better about it now. I have decided I'm going to take him back to the park a lot more regularly now....practice practice practice. This will allow him to get better at it and we are bound to find some kids who want to play! :)
 

Peanut

Member
Joined
Aug 1, 2005
Messages
1,083
Points
36
OK I have a happy ending to the park trips! I am not working with this boy anymore because of schedule changes but on our last day I took him back to the park. Another boy was there and upon a closer look he appeared to have some of the same issues as the boy I was with (talking to himself, reciting things, pacing). He was the only other boy at the park so they were perfect playmates (teeter totter). We invited the boy to play and his mother said he had to go meet his dad pretty quickly but it was a much better experience! Happy ending!
 

ladylore

Account Closed
Joined
Jul 7, 2007
Messages
3,855
Points
0
I am glad for that kind of happy ending, for both of the boys. :2thumbs:
 

Halo

Member
Joined
Jul 19, 2005
Messages
7,475
Points
36
I am happy to hear that everything turned out well for both boys :)
 

Top Bottom