Thanks to Stella Hui and the BC Autism Society, some of us had a chance to hear Anna Matchneva speak last Friday about the PEER program in BC Schools. While most of the parents were there trying to learn how to help their children with what some of the other students consider ‘weird’ behaviour, I was there as a person with Asperger’s as well as a concerned parent and grandparent of children with Asperger’s. It’s always an interesting perspective, and I’m often amused at the assumptions the workers make about us Aspies.
But with Anna Matchneva, it was different. She had a good read on us, a lot of insights into how things work for us, and how they don’t work, and what we can do about it.
With Anna, teaching the child to independantly correct the situation through adjusted thinking and responses is the key to achieving success in peer relationships.
Some of the things she suggests for Children with Asperger’s to help them manoeuvre in social situations:
- Recognize other people’s interests. Let them talk, and be supportive.
- Learn to recognize and support other people’s feelings. Accept that they aren’t always the same as ours.
- Learn positive thinking. Positive thoughts lead to better feelings which lead to more comfortable behaviour. In the situation where you became angry and frustrated, what could you do differently next time?
- When conflict happens, do not dismiss or blame the other person. Try instead to put yourself in their shoes.
- When you have a guest, let them do what they want. Do not try to choose activities for them, or force your interests on them.
And for parents of Aspies, try to help them develop age appropriate interests: in music, in games, and other past times that children talk about at school.
Anna Matchneva is an amazing person. She works with iStep Ahead Serices Inc . You can read more about this program at: http://www.istepahead.com/