Just To See You Smile
"This is my son, Blain. It was taken a couple of years ago. He rarely smiles in pictures or in life, so I appreciate this picture." (Copied from a post on Facebook 1-3-13, from the mother of a young man with ASD.) There was a picture of Blain (fictitious name) with a semi-smile that accompanied this post and I could feel the love and joy that radiated from this mother.
Children on the autism spectrum are usually beautiful people. They certainly use facial expressions during tantrums and let us know what they dislike but smiles and normal affect don't come easily. As they mature they can loose even more of the ability to smile, laugh, and communicate through the means of joy. Don't let that happen to your clients or to your own child
Pause for ten seconds and read the
words to this verse of the Tim McGraw song
Just to See You Smile
A smile is communication. I've never seen or heard of a benchmark on an IEP for teaching a person how to smile. Why not? I know that a smile can convey more than a ten-word sentence when it is properly placed, seen, and appreciated by another human being. Perhaps, it is the ultimate message in the Theory of Mind.
My July 28, 2011 Autism Blog, "Laughing at Language" tells the story of a little boy on a train at an amusement park. Please read it if you have not or refresh yourself. This was my son at a very young age and I knew then that I would need to teach Doug how to smile and laugh in order to communicate in a manner that most of us take for granted. I did.
- Is teaching smiles and laughter an easy task ~ no
- Is teaching smiles and laughter a "fast track" task ~ no
- Does anyone really know how to teach someone to smile ~ let's try
- Can smiling be taught as part of communication ~ YES
***** It is soooooooo important that YOU, the SLP and YOU, the parent, give adequate thought to this discussion. I hope that before I provide some answers next week, many of you will comment on this blog and offer some of your own ideas. There is never a wrong solution for joy and learning how to show it.
Read ~ Brainstorm ~ Comment
As we all know
"Speech pathologists make good things happen."