So it’s been another busy week in our different kind of normal and this week I attended a lesson in social script writing. I went to learn this technique to help Caleb who is most likely going to receive a diagnosis of being on the autistic spectrum. Social scripts are a strategy that Caleb can use to help him understand certain situations that he finds difficult. They describe what people do, why they do it and how they usually respond. This should hopefully help Caleb piece together bits of the puzzle of social situations that he finds very difficult to do himself. They are a visual aid that we can go over & over until Caleb can begin to make sense of the situation and manage the situation better.
So where to begin?? There are many social situations that Caleb finds difficult ranging from holding a hand in the supermarket to learning it’s okay to make mistakes, from realising you don’t have to be first all the time to understanding that people like to talk about different things. But the thing that Caleb finds most difficult of all, the thing that is catastrophic to his whole world, the thing that will trigger a mammoth melt down every time is people being late!! You see Caleb sees his world in time; time to get up, time to get dressed, time for school, time for tea, time to play etc. These times are all specific and his day runs by these little blocks of time that only he sees. If one of these blocks of time get knocked out, his whole world is wrong. If lunch is two minutes off schedule, his whole afternoon runs out of sync. You might say “just keep being late and he’ll eventually learn”. I’m afraid it doesn’t work like that – Caleb’s brain is wired completely differently – he’s a genius at certain things & he fascinates me with his number abilities but it doesn’t matter how many times I would do something late the catastrophic reaction is the same every time! So I decided to start our social story technique about being late!
If you are planning to visit us and you tell us a time I usually prepare Caleb for what’s happening. If you are late you are very likely to have Caleb scream at you at the door “why are you late”, “you said you would be here at….”. His reaction will seem extreme and you will probably see a “rude brat” in front of you. What you don’t see are now the blocks of time in his head have been thrown into turmoil, there is total chaos in his time schedule and he can’t quite get the time blocks to line back up. So over the next wee while we will be working on understanding that it’s actually ok to be late and we’ll be learning how to cope when these wee time blocks are thrown off schedule and we’ll be learning how to get them lined back up without needing to have a big melt down. The key word is learning – we’ll be trying our best but it may take a while so until then please be understanding of us and our different kind of normal.