Monday, February 29, 2016

Using creative ways to help Nixon navigate social settings

   I can't speak for other parents of children with ASD, but in my own daily life with Nixon social situations are tough. He's not good at respecting personal space. He's a very affectionate kid but that's not always appropriate for school.

    Nixon has developed a friendship with another classmate. Nixon tells us that A is his " friends forever". It's a touching milestone because, until A, he just parallel played with classmates. With A, Nixon has learned to play WITH another child. They've even created a game to play together during recess.
   But with this new friendship comes issues of another kind. Nixon doesn't like sharing A with other classmates. He can sometimes become quite a pill when A plays with other children, even if Nixon is included in the group.
   Nixon's also been having trouble keeping his hands to himself in school.

   And that is where I come in with another creative way to help him navigate life.
   Nixon loves bubbles. I relied on this love to help explain personal space. I had him make a half-circle with his arms, from the side of his body to right out in front of his chest. I told him that was his "personal bubble". I went on to explain that everyone has a bubble around them. Sometime, a friend will invite into their bubble (for hugs/high-fives/kisses, etc.) and that's okay. But if you aren't invited into a friend's bubble and you go into it anyways, you'll pop that friend's bubble and your own. I asked Nixon, "How do you feel when the bubbles we blow outside pop?". Nixon said "it makes me very sad". I told him that's sometimes how friends feel when we invade their personal space.
    Every day before school I remind Nixon "don't be a bubble popper". He laughs and tells me he'll try his best. That's all I ever ask,

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