Solid Good Week
Action and Reaction

Who Were Those Social Stories Really For?

Easy listening boy

For years we have strategized to help Charlie overcome his anxiety about my parents' visits. We've tried social stories of the 'old-fashioned' pictures-on-laminated-paper sort and of the more new-fangled iPad sort, with photos and recorded voices. We've tried 'first-then' sorts of explanations (with photos). We tried not telling Charlie till the last possible moment. We tried telling Charlie two weeks in advance (resulting in instant anxiety as he made the conclusion, if we were telling him my parents would be visiting, they must be showing up immediately -- as in, right the next second).

I had made Charlie a calendar to show him how many days he'd have off from school after the October 29 snowstorm and due to the NJEA teachers' conference, I had added space for my parents' visit and the Thanksgiving holidays. I've showed him the calendar a very few times and Charlie has left it on the floor, his preferred place to leave important things. After a mention of my parents stoked a fairly big bout of Charlie-anxiety last Monday, we haven't brought it up.

Saturday morning, waiting for me to take the bikes out of the shed, Charlie said 'PoPo' -- Cantonese for 'maternal grandmother' -- over and over. Loudly, and while looking at me fixedly. I repeated 'PoPo' a few times back, without adding any words or information. I also anticipated Charlie saying 'PoPo' for a good hour but he stopped as he got the bike helmets and yellow jackets and put his iPad in the car.

It was later in the afternoon, after a crisp 11 miles on the bike path, a very hefty lunch and a nap that Charlie stood in the living room and said, 'GongGong PoPo coming soon.' Jim and I said a mild 'yeah' and Charlie got his iPad and turned it on.

He didn't mention my mom and dad for the rest of the evening. Which is not to say, that he is not thinking of them.

Charlie does have a strong memory that is most likely photographic: Once he knows what's going on, he knows it and why belabor a point already clearly stated. Perhaps, having once proclaimed the facts, that's quite sufficient for him -- no need for us to keep reminding him, in language or repeated readings of social stories that may well have been more for our benefit than they ever were for his. 

Comments

Linda

Wow, palatable growth! He is a champ.

Linda

Palpable ~~~

farmwifetwo

One thing I have learned and have also read in AAC materials - listed on my goodread pg - is that "echolalia" isn't "garbage" speach.

I've used it to initiate speach and I treat it as such. Now for the last 18ths I have joint attention and he will inform me of things. I don't give a "mild" anything but a full sentence reply. "Yes, your grandparents are coming on these dates and will be going home on these dates". Which is what I replied when he showed me on the calendar this morning and said "Niagara" during the Xmas holidays.

If you don't acknowledge communication attempts... why attempt to communicate especially when you get more bang for your communication attempt by destroying things?

I am amazed how the severely autistic are cut out of the communication loop. I'm amazed parents agree to being treated that way. We teach the severely handicapped of any other dx but not ASD. But we do like our Pavlov's dog training... aka ABA which IMO is not right.

a parent

Our current approach to social stories is for me to whip up a quick set of pictures with minimal text and put it on Pictello. I might show it to someone else, but I don't specifically tell my son to look at it. I especially don't try to read through it with him. He will look at it when he wants to - often it's after the situation is over rather than before. He might obsess some, but he can control when he wants to think about the event.

Kristina Chew

Yes, lots of growth! Proud of our boy.

I know we're not the first family who, after years of special ed and various pedagogies, can see much room for change. Presuming competence is certainly something that we could have done a lot more in the past and strive to do now.

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