Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Autism and Life Skills

Many things that Autistic people struggle with NT people take for granted.  Something such as ordering your food at a restaurant or correcting a cashier in a store while for most NT people is nothing for someone with autism they may struggle with this. Here are just a few things that take longer for some to learn. There are many many more than this these are just the four we have been working on lately and I can tell you what has worked for us.

  •  Ordering food: yes it is easier for us to do it for all of our kids but now I have them do it.  Roger can take some coaching or reminders to slow down his speech but he is getting better
Me: What do you want to eat? (while still in line)
Roger: Chicken fries and a shake
as soon as we reach the counter
Me: Order your own food.

  • Correcting a Cashier: OK so this one can be hard for anyone but in our case Roger showed yesterday that he can do this. He was buying candy at the grocery store yesterday the sign said buy 2 get 2 free so he was getting 4.  When they rang up he was charged for all 4 rather than the buy 2 get 2 deal. The first thing he did was ask me if I had swiped my club card (he knew you had to have the card to get the deal) I had.  Then he told the cashier that's suppossed to be buy 2 get 2. At first she tried to say no but he said the sign say she said the signs are for the item above not below. Here comes the coaching 
Me: Where was the candy?
Roger: Bottom shelf
Me: Where was the sign above or below?
Roger: Below
Me: did you read the sign?
Roger: Yes
Me: What did it say?
Roger: Airheads and thats what this is.
Yes it would have been easier to say hey lady the items over there and look at the sign but this made him think through what was going on . Cashier ended up giving him the deal because he was right. 

  • Crossing the Street: This just comes down to safety. Everyone needs to know you have to look not just run into the street. We finally got this one down but there are slip ups at times.  There was once last year I was driving someone else car and Roger was not expecting me to pick him up from the bus stop. The bus came and he started walking down the street and when I called him the bus had just pulled away and the cars were stopped. He went to cross and this jerk in a white BMW (who did not even live in the neighborhood just yet another person using our street as a cut through to avoid construction) hit his gas because after you see a bus letting kids off you should always drive like your in a NASCAR race. Anyways he saw Roger and cracked his window and yelled what are you retarded you don't run in the street. All I said was his mother is right here so shut it. He then proceeded to say to me we don't need your kind around here. I'm still trying to figure out what my kind is. Then he sped off. I talked to Roger and told him he has to pay attention because the people in the cars are not! He has not just run into the street since 

  • Answering the Phone: I don't know about you but when you have some problems holding a conversation the phone is a dreadful thing. Roger does have his own cell phone but when people call he will just pick it up and say nothing. It took us a while to get him to even say hello after he answered the phone. Now he rarely receives or makes a call, for the most part it is used for texting. As to the reasons for getting a phone that's a whole other post.

These are just a few things and we must remember not everyone will have the same struggles. I read on Hearts that Know and Feel that we are the best therapists for our children.  It's true you do not need to pay someone hundreds of dollars to teach your kid to order food. Take them out in the world, let them experience it and if it bugs someone else oh well they will get over it. Very rarely have I had anyone say anything to me when they see me working with him to do some of these things.  Most people are not going to yes it makes their wait a minute or two longer but most wont care and if they do they will get in another line.

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