Children with Asperger’s and other autism spectrum disorders usually have great difficulty with learning, remembering and using information about others in conversation. Elsewhere in this series of blogs, I have provided methods and downloadable visuals to help children with ASD to speak in a more reciprocal manner. Here is one more technique, which can be used from about age 6 up through teen years.
Tips on helping children to complete the All About Me signs:
1. You may have them select pictures online to paste onto the sign instead of having them draw the pictures.
2. Suggest to children completing the signs that they should include a variety of pictures. It constrains conversation to restrict the All About Me sign to, say, four different pictures representing four different video games.
Tools to use in combination with the All About Me signs:
Green Zone Two-person worksheets. These are really useful for having two peers identify common ground.
Game-like elements and token systems. Your students may find it challenging to consider the other person’s interests in conversation, even with the visual prompts. Making a game out of it, with tokens, really helps.
Question, Comment and Compliment prompt sheet. I have included one below for you.
How to introduce the activity:
Here are some words to try…or your own intro might improve on the intro I provide here:
“When you talk to another person, you always have to think about what the other person might be thinking and what the other person might like to talk about. To help you think about what other people like to talk about, we are going to make All About Me signs. Draw simple pictures that another person can understand. Use your very best writing. When you are finished, we will use string to attach it around your neck. You will then have a conversation with another person who is also wearing and All About Me sign. Each of you will do your best to pay attention to the things the other person likes.”
I hope you have fun with this activity. [by the way...the kid pictures shown here are derived from free images found online.]
Joel Shaul, LCSW