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When is a Push a Shove or a Nudge?

21 Sep

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?

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5 Comments

Posted by on September 21, 2010 in NTs on ASD

 

5 responses to “When is a Push a Shove or a Nudge?

  1. Tam

    September 21, 2010 at 7:59 AM

    I don’t know how helpful social skills groups are, I’ve never actually seen one. I imagine they can run the gamut from extremely helpful, to shockingly unhelpful, depending on how they’re run, who’s there, and how much everyone hates being there.

    I will say this, though. If the kids are anything like I was, their life is unbelievably stressful and a great deal of that stress comes from not understanding why everyone around them is acting so insane, and not being able to figure out why they can’t just have friends like everyone else seems to have.

    So if the social skills group actually does what it’s name implies, and helps to teach them social skills, then people will make more sense, they’ll be able to make friends, they’ll have the emotional support they need and crave, and most everything else will get less stressful and easier to deal with. Then they won’t be stuck in an endless cycle of meltdowns from too much stress all through high school, college, and the rest of their lives. They’ll have stress, of course, but it won’t be the always-present kind that comes from being isolated.

     
    • jholverstott

      September 22, 2010 at 2:49 AM

      Your last paragraph is what all social skills groups SHOULD seek to do.

       
  2. EquiisSavant

    September 21, 2010 at 1:36 PM

    Why do neurotypicals always have tpo forceibly try to “normalize” Autistics ? I can’t think of anything I would loathe more than a stupid “social group.” That’s total crap. Why not Autisticize neurotypicals – tell them to gop be alone and devote all their time to objects and things for 30 days without any contact with people ? See how they would like THAT !!!

    Stupid, pompous human subspecies type. Busy bodies who can’t mind their own business. We are NOT them, and Autistics have our own interests. We should be understood, and accepted.

     
    • jholverstott

      September 22, 2010 at 2:47 AM

      While I don’t perceive the purpose of a social skills group to “forcibly normalize”, I can appreciate the vigor with which you represent individuals with autism. I wonder how helpful these questions might be: Do you want to be here? What do you want to learn? And, perhaps, how we can we help you understand why NTs do things differently from you (and not, why they do things differently from NTs)?

       
  3. EquiisSavant

    September 21, 2010 at 1:38 PM

    sorry for the typos – I can’t see black letters on white. You can fix them if you want.

     

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