Parenthood episode- I looked them in the eyes
Last week’s parenthood was so telling when it comes to the raw emotions of watching our children struggle with understanding other people’s perspective. My eyes instantly started to burn as I fought back the tears as I watched *mom* watch Max sitting on the playground reading a book as the other children interacted. If you missed the episode, you can find it here http://www.nbc.com/parenthood/
I also enjoyed watching the writers roundtable here www.nbc.com/.../1354851 and here is where Jason Katims talks about the asperger’s storyline taken from * real life*
Of course as I watched parenthood, and watched the classroom scene ( raise your hand if you felt like reaching through the TV into that classroom??), along with the lunchroom and playground, I could not help but know that a parent of a child with Autism had to be involved in the writing. We, as a community, can relate to the emotions that we all go through, no matter what side of the spectrum our children fall.
Nothing rang more true to me that our children just want to understand. They want to get what other people around them seem to get without having to work at it! For children with Aspergers, and HFA, the *only* thing that *seems* to stand in the way of this ability to understand friendships and relationships, is that they are hung up on rules, black and white thinking, and instrumental language to try and connect with others. I say only and seems because *understanding friendships* is really not a skill we learn, at least at its core. It starts as early as 2 months old when a typical child will learn how to tune into another person. This progression thoughout the first year of life is CRUCIAL to development of the social *ability* to understand friendships. This video is just one example of how early these milestones are in place.
Without fundalmental developmental milestones in place, its no wonder that Max is baffled on why his introduction and * looking* did not get him the result he expected.
Imagine if a child could not understand that the other person has a perspective…and that a relationship is the merging of what is happening between two people ( I have thoughts, you have thoughts)! Think about how this affects each area of interaction with your own child. Do they ever ask what you are thinking? Do you feel as though you are doing all the *work* in the conversation?( A sure sign of this is questions questions and more questions)
Last week I had the pleasure of giving a 2.5 hour lecture at Camden County College. IN that talk, I covered the way we all process information regarding relationships and perspective. I went through typical development and with each stage, showed what *that* looks like and then showed videos with strategies to help fill in those missed milestones for our kids on the spectrum. I used video clips from families I work with and also showed my own children…before and after, helping them to *get back* on their developmental track.
I continue to love that shows like Parenthood open the dialogue for how to help our kids and families after those initial words are heard “ your child has Autism”