Being Michael’s Teacher
In celebration of Father’s Day this Sunday, the Autism Society is featuring guest blog posts from great dads all this week. Happy Father’s Day!
June 13, 2011
Although I don’t have a degree in education, it is clear that I am – and will always be – a teacher for Michael, my 22-year-old son with autism. Class is in session during all waking hours when we are together.
If we are watching sports together, I like to ask him “Do you know what the announcer means when he says (fill in the blank)?” This type of question helps me know what part of the language Michael understands, or doesn’t understand. He passed a recent “quiz” when he reported during a basketball game that, “There is a 10-second difference between the shot clock and the game clock.”
A more important class involves social skills. “Remember to look at the person you are talking to” or “Wait for your turn in conversation” are examples of lessons that must be taught and re-taught with some frequency. Other skills, like saying hello and being polite, have been mastered.
On Father’s Day, Michael and went to the golf course together. As we talked about the safe driving of a golf cart, how to “mark” your ball with a coin on the putting green or how to rake a sand trap, I realized that these ongoing life lessons are a huge part of our relationship. All parents teach and model behavior, but the parents of children on the spectrum have the challenge of not letting a teachable moment go by. The rewards of that extra “class time” are well worth the effort.
Looking for more information and resources? Don’t miss our Family Issues webpage.
Autism Society free resource ocument: Next Steps: A Guide for Families New to Autism (must sign in to access). This 8-page document is geared toward families who have just had a child diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. It provides a general understanding of the autism spectrum, an overview of the various treatment options and brief information about education, services and supports that are helpful to children and adults on the autism spectrum.
Visit the Autism Society of Ohio. The ASO includes persons with autism, families, and professionals working together to improve services and support at the state level.
Topics:Living with Autism
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