Autistic Social Skills

As I mentioned in the attachment that I added to the end of the video of last month’s meeting, we didn’t finish all of the material due to the great dialog that was generated, as well as the fact that just about everyone had to leave early.  I also felt that I didn’t do as good of a job of pointing out the specific social skills issues that stem from our executive functioning impairments.   It’s not that the information I did provide wasn’t good and very beneficial, its that I don’t feel that it really address the bigger subject of social skills.

 

Therefore, I redid my PowerPoint slides of that section so I can present the information that I feel needs to be shared.  Nevertheless, instead of being an amendment to last month’s presentation, it ended up becoming a reboot.  I’ll leave the original on line because it went into greater detail about the foundational issues that were discussed prior to the section on “Executive Functioning,” while this “reboot” concludes with the solutions that I couldn’t get to in the original because I ran out of time.

PowerPoints: 1 The Science of Autistic Social Skills

“I’m wired differently, here’re all the things I can’t do,” is not a recipe for successful interaction with anyone (believe when I say I tried that method and it failed me miserably) nor any other endeavor that we might under take.  Although society may make us feel like we were “born on the wrong planet,” that doesn’t make it true, nor does it give us the self-confidence that we need to succeed any anything, especially social interaction.  In fact, the entire mentality is self-defeating.

Success for Autistics/Aspies in any area, including social interaction, requires a root level understanding that builds our self-esteem and self-confidence.  How do we accomplish this, with a “holistic understanding of Autism/Asperger’s.”  That means instead of defining us by solely by our weaknesses, we need to also need to give our strengths their just due.  Just as a blind person compensates by developing a more acute sense of hearing, frontal lobe impairments result in Autistics/Aspie result in a greater reliance in other areas, resulting in superior abilities in those areas.

Another way that this discussion of the neuroscience of Autism/Asperger’s is going to be different from what’s typically presented is that I won’t be teaching trigonometry to kindergarteners.  I came up with this analogy to explain to Dr. Woodruff why conferences designed to educate parents and Autistics/Aspies should simplify how Autism/Asperger’s is explained to them.  We also need to focus more attention on what will allow us to devise strategies for dealing with struggles that we face today, rather than solutions that science MIGHT provide us 5-10 years from now.

For those who aren’t familiar with Dr. Woodruff, he’s a neurologist who works at the about 2011-14.  During that time, he donated all of his knowledge to anyone who Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale who attended Autistic/Aspie meetings for personal reason from wanted it.  I soaked up everything that he had, that was within my ability to comprehend, like a sponge.  He examined the material that I’d come up with prior to our meeting each other and completely overhaul several portions of it.  Everything that I share on the subject of the neuroscience of Autism/Asperger’s has his endorsement as to being consistent with consensus view of scientists at the time he assisted me in developing this material.

PowerPoints: 2 The Science of Autistic Social Skills (Continued)

Because I covered all of the foundational principles in the 2 previous presentation, I knew this would be a very short presentation if I didn’t add more material.  So along with the sensory processing and stress issues, I attached additional information about how to manage stress which I originally planned to attach to a future presentation on conflict resolution.  I through in a few other nuggets of information at the end.

Note that I didn’t title this, “Stages of Autistic Social Development.” That’s because, as I’ve clearly stated as my #1 point of emphasis throughout this series, Autistics are 1st & foremost human beings. Having the entire conversation about are social struggles is extremely detrimental to us. It has led many Autistics to the erroneous conclusion that social skills come naturally to non-Autistics. If every phycologist, physiatrist and all other social development expert knows this isn’t true, then why is the status quo Autism still presenting in a way that leads so many of my fellow Autistics to this erroneous conclusion.

My presentation is going to focus on that which is common knowledge outside the Autism community, but I’ve never heard or read discussed inside our community. My sources for this information:

Lisa Ratan, Former Early Childhood Director of Word of Grace Church, Mesa, AZ. Her 7 week-14 hour teacher training program was the 1st time someone laid it all out for me in a systematic format.

Bob Blayter, Former Senior Associate Pastor of Word of Grace Church, Mesa, AZ. Prior to accepting that position, he did management training for SRP. He used that experience to do leadership training which I participated in.

Small group facilitator training at several different churches for several different group types.

A child who struggled to interact with his peers.

A student who saw school councilors in order to work on the above mentions struggles.

A volunteer & professional childcare provider.

An adult interacting with other adults of various ages, at various ages.

A codependent that went to a general purpose 12 step program in which issues like assessing what is actually happening around me, seeing things from the points of views of others, conflict resolution, stress management, etc.

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