Yesterday I told a good story; today it’s time for a bad one. For the record, I don’t like calling it a bad story or moment but it is simply the trying, sometimes stressful moments that we encounter during a session. My point in telling the “bad” stories is to inform, educate and explain how even the toughest moments are “good.” And on some occasions, when it gets really “bad,” sometimes you just have to laugh. So yes, you have my permission to laugh at some of the stories as well!
“I hated that dippin dot cake at your birthday”
“I didn’t have a dippin dot cake at my birthday!!”
“There’s no such thing as a dippin dot cake!”
“Jen, make him stop talking!!” (as he covers his ears)
“He’s lying, he’s lying, he’s lying”
“There is too a dippin dot cake!!!!! Tell them, Jen, there IS a dippin dot cake”
“I think I might explode if I hear another word about dippin dot cakes!!!”
This went on in a circle for about 15-20 minutes. I had only been working with the boys (ages 8-11) for a couple weeks and we were definitely still in the building rapport/trust phase. My two volunteers looked at me as the conversation started and I whispered to them, not to say a word. At this point, interrupting and trying to break it up would have led to a greater breakdown. I silently directed each kid to sit down on a separate curb and the rest of us sat quietly and listened to the exchange. All we could do was smile when we heard the last comment because at that point, I think we were all about to explode! And then all of a sudden the conversation stopped and they looked up at me almost in shock that I had not ended the conversation myself or sided with someone. Then one said, “can we workout now?” And it was over, end of story.
I am Thankful for these conversations because 1) they definitely put my patience to the test and 2) because it allows a social interaction (often non-existent in kids with ASD). What is common is that that they get caught on one idea, thought, etc (such as dippin dots cakes) and can’t move on. When this happens, it sets up an opportunity to give them some options for re-directing themselves when these situations/conversations occur in the future.
But sometimes the Bad does not always end Good. Sometimes it just gets Ugly….