I surely don’t know, so you tell me. Over the past two weeks, I have failed miserably at pushing, encouraging, helping, and hoping my clients could move ever-so-slightly past their comfort zone into a new, albeit uncomfortable territory of challenge.The results, I can offer, have been mixed: ugly to mean.
I spend my days trying to put my feet in the shoes of my clients. Trying to understand what it means to have an ASD so that I can help them live their life and, when necessary, more happily coexist with other NTs. Some have scoffed at these attempts, calling me a needless Mother Teresa who should leave aspies and auties alone. Others have been slightly more congratulatory.
Sure, I think that the services and the point of view I have to offer are helpful, but I lose that ill-advised gusto when a seventeen-year-old who has never tried out social skills group refuses because he has too much homework, too much stress from school, and too little time to play video games. I recognize the merit and the validity of all of those activities. Homework is out-of-this-world lengthy and trying. School is enough to make some of my clients vomit. And video games, well, they are sometimes the saving grace. I can even see how adding another stressor, and a significant one at that, isn’t an immediate formula for success. Social skills group with three, four, or five others who are your age, who share your diagnosis, and who share your anxiety is not enough of a commonalty.
So, how do I encourage the value in something that creates so much dread, so much anxiety? Especially when parents think it is a good idea, but the individual who will sit in the room, alone and disoriented, isn’t sold one bit.
I took a different stand yesterday. I encouraged the parents to look at their son’s life from the big picture: Maybe weekly social skills group with “Mother Teresa” was a current waste of time.
Or, maybe, I should have pushed?