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Liane Holliday Willey, EdD

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2 Liane Holliday Willey, EdD
Pretending to be Normal Liane Holliday Willey, EdD

3 Who Are We? We are not bound by social class, gender, culture, race or geographic lines We are capable of lovely lives We have a neurobiological difference

4 A Peek Inside an ASD Mind

5 Subjective rules make no sense How can I know how to behave?
Maybe if I was in Europe

6 Reality or Pretend? Propaganda or Truth?
Is that real? Why does everyone lie? Am I a fool?

7 Routines Are Never Routines Is Anything / Anyone Dependable?
I’ll be there at 10. We will go outside rain or shine. You can have a piece of cake after your homework, and your big brother ate it and now it’s no more.

8 sopranos S I D

9 Special Interests are not Often Appreciated, Supported or Encouraged
Why is this perseveration ok And this one not?


11 Non-Verbal Inaccuracies
IS he angry – with me??? I am listening! You asked for opinions?!? I thought he liked me… You need to listen to me! help

12 Motor Skills Challenges

13 Word Comprehension, Social Language, Tone
Linguistics Folly Literal We aren’t deliberately rude, but… Context Clues ☐ Meaning is constructed from a combination of the user & listener’s grammar & vernacular, background knowledge of the subject, inference of the speaker, & the ability of the listener to properly understand the speaker’s use of language & intent! Misunderstanding literary use of language Jokes, metaphors, idioms = We have our own lexicon Word Comprehension, Social Language, Tone

14 The Assumptions… This kid is lazy.
Why must that co-worker be so uncooperative? That boy in the grocery line sure is spoiled! That lady is just plain rude. Are you just plain stupid ? I think my neighbor is emotionally disturbed. You are just making things up to get attention You are not trying your hardest

15 How would you feel? What would you do?

16 I got by with a little help from..
In the old days, communities watched neighborhood kids and offered guidance and support.

17 Books How to: Make friends, Get a job, Understand language, Psych myself up to improve self-esteem Let me: Escape and learn skills that helped me get a job and take care of myself

18 Neighbors Watched over me. Gave me advice. Made sure I went in during tornados I was fascinated with. Sharon and Steve – were guardian paid angels.

19 Civic Groups Hated it, but it taught me I could be part of a group and still be alone. I could cook the bacon while the other kids ate. And I could relate to nature and calm down. I could walk the hillside and find peace. Meditation.

20 Animals First Drama. Then Animals.

21 Water Therapy It’s sensory, it’s a serotonin booster, it brought me friends in hot Missouri summers.

22 Repetitive Movements (Stimming)
“why don’t you go roller-skate?”

23 Sensory Deprivation I could actually convince myself no one could see me or suspect I was under those towels. I could observe the world without it observing me.

24 Teachers Common Sense – Let me be me.

25 Doctors Emotions Body Mind Actions C B T Terminology

26 Even After the Support, There Will be Challenges
depression, college issues, bulimia, date rape – I talk about in safety session

27 I worry I’m never going to be what I could have been were it not for the way my mind thinks and my body reacts. LAWYER.

28 I think of the bad stuff that has happened to me
I think of the bad stuff that has happened to me. The date rapes, the drug abuse, the times I’ve felt like a fool. The depression can hit hard.

29 I find it extremely difficult to trust anyone or anything
I find it extremely difficult to trust anyone or anything. I have to ask- are you kidding, are you lying, are you trying to hurt me?

30 I remind myself of all I’ve been through and I persevere, knowing my life is my life and I get to look at it and define it as I choose to. Not as others choose to.

31 Dad’s quote.

32 No one has everything figured out

33 I can believe in me. The part of me no one can take away
I can believe in me. The part of me no one can take away. My intuition is real and alive and ready to help me apply what I’ve learned and figure out what I cannot yet figure out.

34 I look at my children and think – I’ve put a few differently abled kids on this planet and one walks with the norm. I know together, they will continue to spread the message of respect and kindness, acceptance and support.

35 Self- Affirmation Pledge
I am not defective. I am different. I will not sacrifice myself worth for peer acceptance. I am a good and interesting person. I will take pride in myself. I am capable of getting along with society. I will ask for help when I need it. I am a person who is worthy of others' respect and acceptance. I will find a career interest that is well suited to my abilities and interests. I will be patient with those who need time to understand me. I am never going to give up on myself. I will accept myself for who I am. Liane Holliday Willey, Asperger Syndrome in the Family: Redefining Normal

36 Language Supports Think it don’t say it Write it in a journal Script appropriate replies & inquiries Teach literary terms: idioms, metaphors, subtext & sarcasm, similes Teach propaganda Beware your own speech doesn’t confuse Be concrete Check for understanding Teach word histories & origins Teach euphemisms Teach conversation skills Encourage Aspie to question & not fear asking- “What did you mean?” Realize the Aspie’s language is not technically wrong, just precise & very dependent on definition of terms, background schema & context. Discuss & illustrate other examples of the same thoughts that could have been expressed more simply or more naturally. For example, “My shoes lost their tensile strength” could be “My shoes sole broke”

37 Social Interaction Supports
Form a social skills group Directly teach the rules of friendship Realize there are different types of friendship Use cartoons and drawings to illustrate positive vs. negative social behavior Goofus and Gallant Use graphs to chart positive reactions to rocky situations Teach situations and places and people to avoid- leave nothing and no one out! Offer tons of hands-on observing Build that schema!! Establish a safe place and safe people to seek out when the need arrives Establish social behavior groups, but include NT kids, too Teach nonverbal communication skills Teach the exceptions to the rule Rehearse personal space Establish a peer aid Pay a friend / hire a bully If necessary keep the Aspie out of unstructured work groups Use movies, TV shows and plays to illustrate appropriate social behavior and inappropriate behavior

38 Perseveration Supports
Be careful when teaching subjects with potentially disturbing images (history and language arts) Add a transition image following the intense image Establish a safe place for self-dialogue Provide exercises that helps the Aspie have a self-regulated program for obsessing. For example, “Write down your thoughts on this piece of paper, then put the paper in this box. Put the box away for X amount of time. Think about the thoughts ONLY when you open the box.” Know that when the interest has to be put aside, the transition to change or stop might be traumatic Use the special interest as a motivator, reward & calming tool Praise effort Bring the special interest into the academic setting or to family gatherings, etc. Time with the interest as a reward for appropriate behavior

39 General Supports Defend Aspie individuality Social script
Hear perseverations Calm the Aspie Interpret the world for the Aspie Provide (or find some one to) whatever assistance seems necessary Encourage the Self Affirmation pledge Do your homework: read material that fits your situation, stay ahead of new ideas and form the ideas that make sense for the personal situation at hand Study and apply safety issues including how to address and interact with first responders, strangers, new situations, etc.

40 And finally, I think of my father
And finally, I think of my father. He was beat up, ridiculed, left out, ignored, without many friends… but he was the most dependable, kind-hearted, gracious, most intelligent and best grandfather in the world. He was a classic Aspie. And he deserved far better treatment than he received. WE WILL help the world see how fabulous our people are!

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