What on earth are the rules anyway?

20 Jan

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. rulesWe 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?



2 Responses to “What on earth are the rules anyway?”

  1. jharris January 21, 2013 at 13:16 #

    It is almost similar to teaching someone the English language, there are rules but then there are lots of exceptions. This only became very apparent when I started to help my 5 year old daughter learn how to read. She is very precocious for her age and is a big rule follower and when she would attempt to apply the rules she was taught for certain words I had to tell her that there are exceptions. In the end I have told her that sometime you just got to remember the word on its own and accept it, otherwise, questioning the rationale will drive you crazy. I know this is somewhat of a stretch to your post but I think it would be an interesting exercise to have some of those less than accepting people try to learn a new language and be expected to know all the idioms, etc.

  2. seeker January 22, 2013 at 03:01 #

    Rules, yah, who invented rules? Guidelines? Boundaries? Oh my brain hurts. And your story is good, it will take a lot of compassion to deal with autism.

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