What follows is the continuation of a story of my work with a little boy with autism and his family. To learn more read the first post and please leave comments below!
When I walked into Jay’s playroom this morning he was bouncing of the walls with high, uncontrolled energy. Glancing around it was clear to me that Jay’s mother Mary and the volunteer Robert had picked up on and maybe even fueled Jay’s energy. It would have been very easy to engage at that high level, or counteract it aggressively by asking Jay to “please quiet down.” Instead I did not engage with Jay and began by focusing on Mary. When I had walked into the room there was paper all over the floor and I know the impact too much clutter can sometimes have on a child with autism. Too much distraction can serve to heighten levels of uncontrolled energy or nervousness. I didn’t know that this was the case but decided that cleaning up would probably result in a more calm environment than a less. As an aside, I’ve always been an aesthete and prefer an minimalist environment myself. I recognize this bias and have consciously trained myself to also enjoy mess and chaos. I think recognizing our personal preferences is very important. Doing so gives me the freedom to choose my preference or make a clear different decision for the betterment of someone else.