Naoki discusses the following in this chapter:
When you’re on one of your highs, what’s going through your mind?
The “imaginings” that Naoki describes reminds me of a few students I have or have had, but one student in particular came to mind while reading this section. A few months ago, after I inquired because of their happier than normal facial features, one of my students insisted that they were playing a video game. I was puzzled since they had just walked into the speech room and we hadn’t started our activity yet. Upon further questioning I was told, “I’m playing a video game in my mind.” I was impressed at the time that the student was able to describe their reality in this way and I’m also impressed that Naoki does as well. Because these “imaginings” make me feel like our students are “less present” when they happen, if that makes sense, I assumed that they also felt less present during these times. Apparently this isn’t quite the case since these are two examples of these events being described in ways where it seems like the people experiencing this know exactly what is happening.
What are your flashback memories like?
This reminded me of another student who I have seen silently cry for a few seconds several times in the past.
Why do you make a huge fuss over tiny mistakes?
Again, I am reminded of other students. I’m seeing a pattern here.
Why don’t you do what you’re told right away?
In this section Naoki describes three steps he takes when he has to perform a task, including visualizing how he is going to do the task. This reminds of how visuals help so many individuals with autism. This also reminds me of video modeling and video self-modeling. I feel like I’m pretty good about using visuals in therapy when necessary but this is a good reminder that in addition to visuals that normally come to mind, video modeling/self-modeling is another great tool that I probably don’t use often enough. What about you?
Do you hate it when we make you do things?
For me, this was a nice tie-in to the opening of the chapter about the Hare and the Tortoise. Instead of carrying the Tortoise back home I feel like Naoki would tell us to help the Tortoise reach the finish line (scaffolding, fading prompts/cues/models, and so on come to mind).
What’s the worst thing about having autism?
This was heartbreaking.
Would you like to be “normal”?
I was happy to see that he changed his thinking about himself. I love when he says, “But so long as we can learn to love ourselves, I’m not sure how much it matters whether we’re normal or autistic.”
Overall, I’m thinking of so many former and current students while I read this book. It is great to read something from the perspective of a child with a disability instead of the parent of a child with a disability. Very eye-opening in a different way. Naoki is very self-aware, isn’t he?
On another note, I’m reading the Kindle version of this book. Does anyone know the significance of the pictures throughout the book? I’m usually a research everything type of person but haven’t looked into it yet.
-Candra Grether (SLP at The Phoenix School of Discovery and Jeffersontown High School)