Rules? They are just stupid. Well that is what an autistic child thinks.
I remember going through a social story with a boy who kept getting himself in trouble with his peers because he was touching and hugging people inappropriately. We went through how girls that were friends sometimes hug and hold hands, but that did not necessarily mean anything. BUT, boys just didn’t do that at all. We discussed how girls often sit close, share things, but boys do not do that. Why? He asked me. ‘That’s confusing’ he said. We discussed how boys most certainly should not do that to girls. That would make them very upset indeed. He was extremely confused at this stage. We had to go through that social story quite a few times before he understood it.
Now think for a minute about all those unwritten social rules surrounding that discussion about friendships. Think for a minute that you see the world in black and white only. You would be mightily confused at this point would you not?
That particular student was autistic, and in a main school placement. Many of his teachers did not think he should have been there at all.
What were they doing wrong?
They were expecting that autistic square peg to fit into their round holes. Once I changed the school systems to suit his needs, put a social skills lesson in place once a week, and taught him all these missing skills, he was operating like any other child in the school.
Like I said, what on earth are the rules, anyway?