Monday, December 15, 2014

Literal thinkers

                                             What is about literal thinking and autism?

                    Ramam’s friends had come over in the October holidays. He was very excited. And his expression manifested itself in few joyous shouts and screams from him. I then asked him to show his friends a tray full of glasses filled with juice. I got back to doing my work, when one of the mother’s remarked. “He is doing what Viji asked him to do”. He was literally holding the tray high and standing in their midst.  My intention was to ask him to serve the guest. So much for literal thinking and my failure to communicate to him.

                         If one actually looks at the way they process information, shifting their attention to the speaker, trying to process the words, and decode the meaning  , adding to the burden are all the prepositions, conjunctions we use while speaking. Communication difficulties makes it harder for them to clarify, and again as language usage is restricted, it has a snowballing effect.

                              I ask myself, what would the word “snowballing effect" mean to an individual on the spectrum? The children find it very difficult to read the verbal and nonverbal cues, the intonations, and the sarcasm in our voices. How can this issue be tackled? Here are some recommendations:

Don’t say things you don’t mean:    This was one of Merry Barua’s lectures I attended initially, she said don’t say things you don’t mean. For example, “If you don’t do your work, I will never speak to you”.
Say concrete things:   Instead of telling Ramam good job, it makes more sense to appreciate by saying, good writing.

Be careful with the words you speak: I have already given an example of it in the opening para.

Provide exposure to figurative language:  Use idioms, expressions, feelings, at an appropriate time, with the conscious effort to teach them. found this on the net.

                                This post is the second  of the series where I wish to go beyond our personal journey . The first one being on Scripting . Be back soon with more posts.

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