Saturday, March 8, 2014

The Mental Map- Part 2: Expectancy

According to Soma’s book Understanding Autism through RPM, expectancy is one’s self-assessment of his or her own ability to put into action the expected task or behavior in a particular environment.  For example, if we were to eat at a pricey, high end restaurant, we would be expected to dress a little nicer than if we were going to McDonald’s, use our best table manners, order a glass of wine or cocktail, and leave a good tip.  As neurotypical adults we can easily transfer this set of expected behaviors whether we are in a nice restaurant in New York or in Paris. 

I asked Philip how he would describe expectancy. (Philip's answers in bold)
It is wanting to do something the same but in a new situation.  

Philip, as well as many autistic children, have a hard time easily transferring skills from one setting to another.  At home Philip is able to spell complete thoughts in sentences and paragraphs.  At his new school, where he has been for only 2 weeks, he can produce one word or short phrase responses with his teachers.  With most people whom he has no experience spelling with, he often cannot produce a correct spelling.   It seems the difference is the amount of experience Philip has with each spelling partner.  I asked Philip why there is this difficulty in generalization.

It is hard because there are new things to process.  Each day the different voices have to get my attention.  I have a hard time with each letter at a time.

What do you mean by that?

I think fast but I have to write slow.  I have to concentrate to get my finger to obey my brain.  When I am pointing to letters I am slowing my thinking down.  It is each day tiring to slow down.  I am having to pester my brain to stop running wild.  My brain thinks of everything all at once.  (Can you give an example?)  It verses stories of Abe Lincoln and (thinking of) not needing to stim so much, and (thoughts of) today’s events.  I am lucky to have someone slow me down enough to think and communicate clearly.  

How does a person help you?

The person needs to compete with my desire to stim.  They need to be so patient and persistent.  They need to be strong with me.  (How do you mean?)  They can’t give up.  They have to see me as smart.  They have to welcome me with open minds.  They have to support me.  You are the best.

How can we help you in a new situation?

It helps to talk about the new situation before it happens.             

 Philip gets award for best designed car!

Pinewood Derby Race at Randall- March 7, 2014

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