In this chapter, Naoki answers the following questions:
Why do you memorize train timetables and calendars?
Naoki explains that it is fun to memorize schedules and calendars. He stated that numbers are fixed and unchanging, following the same set of rules unlike trying to interpret human relationships and ambiguous expressions. I have kiddos on my caseload that remember birthdays of peers and classroom staff. This information is constant and unchanging, allowing them a clear way to engage in social interaction.
Do you dislike reading and picking apart long sentences?
Naoki states that he enjoys dissecting sentences but his patience wears quickly and he loses the meaning of the sentence. Naoki enjoys learning but people with autism need different strategies and approaches to help them learn. We see this in every individual on our caseload. We use a variety of specially designed instruction to ensure our kiddos can effectively communicate in a classroom environment.
What do you think of running races?
Naoki does not hate running but when placed in a competitive situation, he states that he overthinks the movement of his arms and legs and does not enjoy beating others. This question resonated with me. I was outside with one of my classes when I witnessed one student running quickly around the track. When the teacher suggested a race between other peers, the student refused to participate stating, “I can’t run that fast.” I was hoping a race would be a great way to focus on social skills. My initial thought was this student does not want to lose, but after reading this chapter my perspective has changed.
Why do you enjoy going out for walks so much?
Naoki stated the obvious reasons like “walking makes you feel good” or “it is great being in the open air” but, for people with autism, their fondness for nature is different. Naoki describes his body feeling recharged when outside.
Do you enjoy your free time?
Naoki explains that it is hard for people with autism to find something they want to do. People with autism tend to gravitate toward activities they can do. Playing with familiar items is comforting to people with autism because they already know what to do with the object. I see so many of my kiddos during free time do the same activity. One of my students likes to draw and another likes to listen to the same song repeatedly.
–Kim Campbell, SLP at Valley Prep and Stonestreet Elem.