Facts. Simple and Convoluted

April 9, 2014
This morning, at my son’s pediatrician office (Yes, he is already 22 years old but he still sees pediatrician, who knows him well.), I glanced at April issue of Parenting Magazine. I didn’t really expect to find anything but lukewarm advice to young mothers of even younger children. Then, a page listing seven or eight things parents should never tell their children caught my attention. The first advice I read was not to tell, “Good job!” to prize the child for doing something correctly. This seemed to go against strong beliefs in encouraging a child by providing constant feedback. And yet, this was exactly what I had been dealing with for the last two years. I wrote a couple of blogs about Robert trying to read my lips to get cues from me and not from what he knows. He stopped believing in his own knowledge. I wrote about it in Pulling out of Helplessness https://krymarh.wordpress.com/2012/05/08/pulling-out-of-helplessness/
Just a few weeks ago I noticed that Robert made more errors working with equivalent fractions when I was sitting next to him but refrained myself from any gesture or sound that would confirm to him, that he was correct. Lack of acknowledgment of his correctness confused him a lot. He did better when I was not next to him, and thus he only relied on himself. https://krymarh.wordpress.com/2014/03/14/journal-page-2/
Parenting Magazine in one sentence nailed the problem. Robert spent years in ABA therapy during which he heard, “Good Job” thousand times. Later, he went through years of one to one assistance (including mine) and learned to be guided by approving gestures and sounds. As he became painfully attuned to other people’s reactions to his answers, he stopped relying on what HE KNEW.
I don’t know how many people would treat Parenting Magazine seriously, or at least as seriously as New York Times which day or two ago came out with the blog titled, Inside the Mind of a Child with Autism I skipped through it not finding anything that would relate to my son’s learning. They were a few familiar terms and a few known names, but the article left me completely alienated. It was long enough to be informative and maybe it was to uninterested parties. Nothing in it related to my current knowledge of Robert and nothing in it addressed any of the thousand questions I still have.

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