Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Inappropriate social behaviors
Having difficulties with social interaction can be such a double edged sword. On one side they may be withdrawn and solitary. They may not try to play with other children. They may even claim they don't want to. It's not easy feeling awkward all the time.
But what about the other side of that? The ones who go too far in social interaction because of the intense desire to try and be part of things going on? They may try too hard and push people away or engage in invasive or obnoxious behavior. They may climb all over strangers (as my son did).
My son loves explosions and thinks everything has to explode. Before his meds kick in each day, he's deep in fantasy and can be very loud. Even still, he may run up and "explode" right in someone's face. "BOOM!" "PKOW!" "I'm a bomb!" His meds help him slow down and consider his behavior before he does it and school has been a big help with their support. But you can see how this invasive behavior would drive people away or make them think negatively of a child.
Another angle is inappropriate humor. Humor is a touchy thing socially and handled wrong will cause all sorts of problems. Our kids see humor used and try to do so themselves. Many will just do what they think is funny regardless of the reality. Parents and other kids will find this aggravating and it will bring about a long scale of problems. It could invite negative behavior from other children, even bullying. This is where knowledge about what your child is doing could be helpful. Teachers and probably some students need to know that the real problem is not knowing proper humor. That way, they can give feedback to the autistic child that's helpful rather than hurtful. "That's not funny and I don't appreciate it." Direct social feedback that's important for our children to learn the consequences of their behaviors.
Some may even think that triggering anger and frustration is funny. My son tries very hard to trigger my own autistic senses in the mornings. He finds getting reactions out of others or at least me, to be quite funny. Well, it's funny until he earns a consequence and goes to time out, then it's not funny anymore. Where has he learned that? It's likely he's come across other children who taunt for the same reasons, to see reactions in others.
So, learning to be proper in social circles is a daunting and complicated task. It requires great patience, time and constant support. Yes, there are times I feel like I have to shout because my poor ears are ringing from what ever sound he's droning for attention. On some, he just doesn't get the attention, on others consequences are necessary for learning. Good luck in your social teaching endeavors.