1 hour ago
[From Ben @realbendorman ]
The other day when Lenny and I went to the park, we ran into a complete stranger who was practicing twists with a skateboard. Lenny was so excited and politely asked him if he could try. The guy said, "Sure!" He was so friendly and allowed Lenny to try, playing with him and supporting him for about 15 minutes. Lenny followed the instructions closely and skated where he should skate. He was very respectful and really enjoyed the experience—we all did.
Also, the guy really respected when Lenny said "no" (as in "I don't need your help!") He just backed away and didn't take it personally. He allowed Lenny the space to do his own thing. Great!
As you can see, Lenny succeeded in his first solo skateboarding effort!
Since we got back from Australia in September, Lenny has been more willing to try and connect with strangers, especially those with things of interest to him.
From what I observed, this interaction was successful for three reasons: (1) It was one-on-one so Lenny could focus on eye contact and the words (2) Lenny was highly motivated to try and do what he could to succeed—he knew that the guy was the key to him succeeding in skating by himself, not me (3) The guy was amazingly good with Lenny. He was like an incredible team member who suddenly appeared in our lives. No training, no dialogue—just remarkable excitement, joining with Lenny, and celebration! Unbelievable. It was all so natural.
His attitude of openness made all the difference. In the end, it is the people who Lenny connects with that will help him learn to become socially successful, not the objects. The playroom is such a great place for us to be the most exciting object in the room, to respond to Lenny, and to really celebrate him.
There was a time when we couldn't even take Lenny outside because there was so much sensory stimulation that he would either lock into his own world or go into major meltdown mode. We would have to deal with all that later at home. And now we have come to this point!
#TeamLenny #autism #autistic #autismawareness #autismacceptance #skateboarding #autismparenting