Sharing recipes, crafts and frugal living, the challenges and triumphs of parenting a neurotypical child and a child on the Autism Spectrum. Yoga Instructor said goodbye to her nightly glass of Chardonnay to give up habits that were not serving her purpose in life! The CocktailMom name remains, however with a new focus on healthy and authentic living.


College Park Patch: Beyond Please and Thank You

This article was originally published on the College Park Patch as part of the weekly column by Gretchen Schock, Parenting on a Tightrope

L was first diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum at around three years old. At that time I would spend several minutes a day holding up flash cards with photos of people expressing an emotion. Angry, mad, sad, embarrassed and confused to name a few.
Children on the spectrum often need to be taught social cues and facial expressions. They struggle to understand facial cues that other people rely on to gauge the moods of others. Over the years, L has become better at identifying other people's emotions. He continues to struggle with some but now has the ability to ask the person to clarify.
"Are you mad? Because you are crying ... I'm not sure."
It is confusing for him to understand that people sometimes cry when they are sad, mad, frustrated and happy. That's hard to keep track of!
He is currently attending a summer camp for high functioning autistic kids where they focus every day on social skills. This past weekend we witnessed his new found skills at a birthday party. As I was packing up our belongings, I asked the boys to say goodbye to the birthday girl. Instead L went around to every adult at the party and held out his hand to shake and said to each and every person, "It was nice to meet you."
My mouth may have hit the floor.
And then it got me thinking; kids on the spectrum need to be taught social cues but that doesn't excuse the nuerotypical kids from learning proper manners themselves. If they aren't learning by example, who are they learning from? Over the last five years, I have to remind L daily to make eye contact. And then I look at the adults and kids around us in our society, and they are all glued to iPhones and BlackBerries barely making eye contact with anyone. Ever.
People from other countries who are preparing to visit the United States may stumble upon this lesson of etiquette. We definitely over use the word "dude," and it is typically okay for a male friend to hug a female friend. But I wonder when the last time our local bus driver got thanked. Have we forgotten our etiquette?

No comments:


Related Posts with Thumbnails