Author Topic: Autistic Spectrum Disorders and Social Skills  (Read 8032 times)

Offline TrixieKQ

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Autistic Spectrum Disorders and Social Skills
« on: July 01, 2007, 08:08:36 PM »
I'm not sure where to post this, and I apologize for the odd tangent of this topic.  Be patient, it takes a little bit of background before I get to my point.

I'm going to speak with Carol Gray soon (www.thegraycenter.org).  She developed a technique called Social StoriesTM that helps teach individuals on the Autistic Spectrum "interact more successfully with the people with whom they live and work."

Basically, Social StoriesTM lay out 'rules' for social interaction, like "please" and "thank you" (although this example is VERY oversimplified).

Social interactions are incredibly complex, just like air traffic communications an procedures.  We have managed to create rules for everyone to follow.  What I am interested in from y'all are any examples of rules/communications/procedures that could be analagous to social rules.  For example - the rules for land line communications (FAA 7110.65, 2-4-12) can demonstrate general telephone manners.  (God I hope I'm making sense to y'all). 

I'm interested in anything anybody can come up with.

Peace



Offline LHP50

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Re: Autistic Spectrum Disorders and Social Skills
« Reply #1 on: July 01, 2007, 11:06:44 PM »
I doubt if I can be of much help.  Air traffic communications is a very structured means of communication.  For example, every transmission begins by stating the recipients 'name'.  The initial communication from a controller requires stating the recipients 'name/call sign" followed by the controller's 'name'/facility and position.  This form of communication might be socially appropriate in a totally dark room filled with people but otherwise would seem odd.  I also see air traffic control phraseology as having a serious authoratative component.  The controller is 'serving' the pilots but does this by issuing commands.  I avoid asking questions when possible.  "Say altitude" is a command as is "say destination", "say type aircraft" etc.  This communication can break down if the controller starts asking pilots questions.  By asking questions a controller puts the pilot in control of the communication.  I suggest you read the 7110.65 in regards to transmission format, and landline coordination.  There is a set order of information transfer and always a required response.  The structure of communication is intended to reduce the possibility of miscommunication and does so at the expense of normal social protocal.  Have you ever ended a phone call with your initials?  I have once or twice while on a phone at work and it always seemed really strange.  We say "good bye" not who we are when we hang up.  Again, I doubt if this helps but I did take your request seriously.   
LH       

Offline TrixieKQ

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Re: Autistic Spectrum Disorders and Social Skills
« Reply #2 on: July 01, 2007, 11:27:54 PM »
Not only have I ended phone calls with my initials, I have used them at the drive thru.

The structure of the communication is kind of what I'm getting at.  The rules and format allow for a wide variety of information to go back and forth, but the structure is always (usually) the same.  That is one of the difficulties teaching people on the spectrum how to function socially.  It is the unusual situations that I'm looking for help with.

You could teach a person on the spectrum that when you see a family member that lives far away from you that it is appropriate to smile, give a big hug and ask "How are you?  It is so great to see you again!!" 

No problem right?

Wrong - sometimes.  When the first time you see your aunt after a year or so is in the church right before her husband's funeral, there is a different protocol to follow.

For the life of me, I can't think of an air traffic equivalent.  I need to go to bed.

Peace


Offline athaker

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Re: Autistic Spectrum Disorders and Social Skills
« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2007, 04:34:42 PM »
Sounds like a heck of a PhD thesis topic to me...

Offline digger

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Re: Autistic Spectrum Disorders and Social Skills
« Reply #4 on: July 02, 2007, 05:02:47 PM »
Quote
Not only have I ended phone calls with my initials, I have used them at the drive thru.

That's a sure sign that you're working too hard.   :-o

Quote
Social interactions are incredibly complex, just like air traffic communications an procedures.  We have managed to create rules for everyone to follow.


I think the difference is that, generally, ATC communications while complex, are totally objective. They're formatted to rule out any misunderstanding through misinterpretation, and feelings and personalities have no function in them. A vector is a vector, a clearance is a clearance. The controller's function is to separate the machinery, and the pilot is simply part of that mechanism. (That probably has a lot to do with why certain controllers are so popular with this site's listeners. They let their human side show, which, good or bad,  makes them stand out from the rest.)

Social communications, on the other hand, are so much more subjective. Body language, tone of voice, how well two individuals know each other, all play a part, but even moreso, whatever the topic of the conversation is is much less likely to fit neatly into a standard format.

Quote
The rules and format allow for a wide variety of information to go back and forth, but the structure is always (usually) the same.  That is one of the difficulties teaching people on the spectrum how to function socially.  It is the unusual situations that I'm looking for help with.


Even the 7110.65  10-1-1 d. has a problem in dealing with unusual situations, "Because of the infinite variety of possible emergency situations, specific procedures cannot be prescribed. " While the "emergency" part may not apply, I think the "infinite variety of possible... situations", certainly applies to social communications.

I'm not sure there's an easy answer for you in trying to emulate ATC communications...

Offline TrixieKQ

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Re: Autistic Spectrum Disorders and Social Skills
« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2007, 05:09:03 PM »

Sounds like a heck of a PhD thesis topic to me...

Bite your tongue.  I have to graduate from college first.  I never finished college because I went straight to ATC.  Who needed college when I was making so much money without it?  

Peace


That's a sure sign that you're working too hard.   :-o


Working too hard has never been one of my problems.   :-D

But seriously Digger, your answer is great.  I'm going to forward it along to Carol...

Thanks & Peace





Offline jkaplan

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Re: Autistic Spectrum Disorders and Social Skills
« Reply #6 on: July 03, 2007, 12:09:56 PM »
As a parent of an 11 year old with Aspergers, I was very intrigued by this thread.

I haven't had time to think this all the way through, but I wanted to indicate that I would love to be of help in any way....  I think the idea of applying ATC-type conventions to speech for autistic people may have a great deal of merit.

The more I think of it, the more I admire the idea...   My son is fascinated by ATC communications, but I never thought to emulate that form of speech to help him remember to acknowledge people talking to him, say thank you, etc....

What a great idea!

Offline jkaplan

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Re: Autistic Spectrum Disorders and Social Skills
« Reply #7 on: July 03, 2007, 12:25:51 PM »
While I agree with Digger with regard to the fact that social communication is more complex and that ATC communication is guided by the principal of making things as clear as possible in the shortest amount of space, I think there still is an oportunity to use ATC-type communications as a guide.

Consider this: 

Although the goal is terse communication, expressions of politeness and gratitude, when the situation allows, are allowed and appreciated.  Even though these social conventions are the exception rather than the rule in ATC comms, I think the contrast will make an even stronger point.

I submit that by using examples of polite and grateful responses, along with proper ATC format, I can show my son that a) adhering to the rules keeps you out of danger and b) being gracious and polite may help you get better responses and possibly better treatment.  These rules are basic life rules.....

I'm going to give it a try.....


Offline TrixieKQ

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Re: Autistic Spectrum Disorders and Social Skills
« Reply #8 on: July 03, 2007, 01:24:56 PM »

Thank you for your comments jk!  I am involved in this subject because both of my children have Asperger's also.

I've used some ATC communications with my kids in two ways.  First, I get them to let me know they heard something I've said by saying "Over".  I've taught them "wilco" and "roger" but they always say "over" back at me.  It usually works, but sometimes they just say "over" because they heard me say it, not because they heard whatever I said before that.

I've also used directional phrases, "turn right/left" etc.

Good luck.

By they way, to the moderators of this web site, thank you for allowing this thread to stay up.

Peace


Offline TrixieKQ

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Re: Autistic Spectrum Disorders and Social Skills
« Reply #9 on: July 09, 2007, 03:23:54 AM »
Hey there all

I want to thank you for your help on this.  Check out the fall edition of Autism Spectrum Quarterly for the article.

I bet y'all never knew you were on the cutting edge of autism research!!!  Okay, I'm overstating the case a bit, but it is really cool to see the skills from aviation translate so easily into another field.

Peace






Offline Jason

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Re: Autistic Spectrum Disorders and Social Skills
« Reply #10 on: July 09, 2007, 04:16:11 AM »
Hey there all

I want to thank you for your help on this.  Check out the fall edition of Autism Spectrum Quarterly for the article.

I bet y'all never knew you were on the cutting edge of autism research!!!  Okay, I'm overstating the case a bit, but it is really cool to see the skills from aviation translate so easily into another field.

Peace

Cool stuff!  Does Autism Spectrum Quarterly post articles online?  If so, be sure to post a link once it's published so we can all read it.  Great to hear how aviation is helping in other aspects of life.

Nice work.

Offline Fryy

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Re: Autistic Spectrum Disorders and Social Skills
« Reply #11 on: July 09, 2007, 05:27:34 AM »
yes, please post it if you can. im really interested in reading this article.

Offline TrixieKQ

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Re: Autistic Spectrum Disorders and Social Skills
« Reply #12 on: July 09, 2007, 11:22:21 AM »

ASQ only posts 'teasers' on line.  I'm not sure if it would be 'kosher' to post a copy of it here.  It might be all right for me to email copies individually.  I'll have to check on it.  Especially since I freelance.  Annoying editors is bad, bad, bad, bad, bad, bad, bad, bad, bad.... :|

I didn't tell the best part, as far as I'm concerned anyway, Mrs. Gray listed me as a co-author.  This is my first article in any real publication!!! 




Offline TrixieKQ

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Re: Autistic Spectrum Disorders and Social Skills
« Reply #13 on: July 09, 2007, 11:44:35 AM »


Social communications, on the other hand, are so much more subjective. Body language, tone of voice, how well two individuals know each other, all play a part, but even moreso, whatever the topic of the conversation is is much less likely to fit neatly into a standard format.


Digger,

I'm sorry that I didn't reply to this part sooner.  Subjectivity is a HUGE problem for people on the spectrum.    It is called Theory of mind (ToM).

Quote

http://www.autism.org/mind.html

Theory of mind refers to the notion that many autistic individuals do not understand that other people have their own plans, thoughts, and points of view. Furthermore, it appears that they have difficulty understanding other people's beliefs, attitudes, and emotions.

... the theory of mind phenomenon appears to be unique to those with autism. In addition, theory of mind appears to be independent of intelligence even though people with Asperger's syndrome exhibit this problem to a lesser degree.

...By not understanding that other people think differently than themselves, many autistic individuals may have problems relating socially and communicating to other people. That is, they may not be able to anticipate what others will say or do in various situations. In addition, they may have difficulty understanding that their peers or classmates even have thoughts and emotions, and may thus appear to be self-centered, eccentric, or uncaring.

Although this is an egocentric view of the world, there is nothing in the theory of mind to imply that autistic individuals feel superior to others.


That is why the objectivity of ATC can be so useful for them.

There is a little more from the ATC world that is useful, but I won't go into it here since this is a "listener" forum.  But trust me, it is fascinating for everyone in the world.  You wanna know how I know that everyone it the world finds this fascinating?  It is because I find it fascinating! :lol:

That is writing skill there...  I used a statement that exemplified ToM in an answer about ToM.  Oh, I am so clever!!  I love myself.   :lol: :roll: :lol:




Offline TrixieKQ

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Re: Autistic Spectrum Disorders and Social Skills
« Reply #14 on: July 09, 2007, 11:58:18 AM »


By the way, if anyone goes to that website I just posted and noses around there, you'll see that the authors are proponents of the theory that vaccines can cause autism.  I just wanted to say that I have not been convinced by the research in this area.  I am skeptical.