What's Mine is Yours (Autism Story #1)
One thing I have learned working with children on the spectrum is that you can never take for granted what a child does or does not know (they always know more that you might think). Another thing that I have learned is that so much of our language is non-intuitive and dependent on theory of mind (“you” say “my nose”, but “I’m” supposed to call it “your nose” and “my nose” is actually right “here”, which “you” call “there”). See what I mean? Well maybe you don’t.
Anyways, my little friend Adam learned his pronouns like the superstar that he is (“I am wearing your hat”, “you are eating my apple”) and we were on to much bigger and better things teaching observational learning, theory of mind etc. I would ask him questions (such as “what is Michael’s favorite color?”, “What did Brandon eat for breakfast?”, etc.) and if he didn’t know he was taught to say “I don’t know” and ask me back, at which point I would either tell him the answer or send him to ask one of the other teachers or look it up in a book,etc. As tedious as this may sound, I kept it silly and we made it a lot of fun. I always tried to mix up the questions, but doing this everyday, I occasionally had creative blocks and asked non-meaningful questions (something I always try to avoid doing). So one day when I said “Hey Adam, where’s Miami?” I of course received the most logical of all responses from my bright little Adam who quite possibly had been overdrilled by me and his other teachers in the past, “I don’t know. Where’s your ami?”