Thursday, April 20, 2017

Autism Answer: Five Things I Learned (Or Re-Learned) Watching Fix It In Five

Five things I learned (or re-learned) while watching Season Two, Episode Three of FIX IT IN FIVE with THE BRAIN BROAD:

*Disclaimer: These are things I learned, not necessary things the show was intending to teach. As a writer and creator of content myself I know well that often the lessons learned are different - even contradictory - to the message I might have been meaning. I also know that it's surprising and wonderful when people learn things from my writing that is completely reflective of the audience themselves and not me. That, actually, is largely the point. 
1) Process Out Loud: When playing with our kids/students/friends we can process the whys and whats of our actions out loud in order to easily explain - aka teach - our choices. It's become a habit for plenty of us to ask for our kids to do things, or to stop doing things, without breaking down our reasons for what we're asking. So all they know is we want this or don't want that, but they don't know why. And honestly? We, ourselves, often don't even know why! Processing out loud helps us figure it all out while teaching.

2) Be Comfortable Talking About The Uncomfortable: We gotta get over any yucky feelings we have when saying things like "don't touch your penis in public" because our discomfort teaches discomfort. Conversely, our comfort can teach comfort. If we are completely comfortable, then the statement plays its intended role; it becomes a simple, consistent, social skill lesson. For the person we are teaching and for all the folks nearby.

3) Value Giving Control: Most schools and programs value getting compliance from students and then offering small bits of control over their schedules and lives. Rewarding compliance with control. However, when we give more control of schedules and life choices to students in the first place, when we value giving them more control, we can ask for the compliance we hope for while giving them an important role in their own lives. We can teach the social skills we want badly to teach - and most people want to learn - while doing the things they are wanting to do. The lessons are in the moments, not the schedule.

4) Always Assume You Are Understood: There is an unfortunate trend among us to assume we can talk over our children's heads, or over the heads of folks who are socially challenged. Not cool, man. Always "Act as if, and then simplify." Act as if everything is understood, and then simplify the pieces and parts for clarity. Perhaps, by processing out loud! (#1) 

"Act as if, and then simplify." ~Lynette Louise, "The Brain Broad"

5) You Are Never Done Learning: This isn't something specifically taught in the episode, this is something I learned by noticing my own reactions to things. Most of the situations and lessons offered in this show are familiar to me, yet I found myself surprised during moments of my own, well, surprise! With my brothers and my sons, I am comfortable with, and aware of, their unusual habits. I have practiced explaining and teaching to them (and have been honored to play a role in our growing healthy together!) and I am tuned into their energy. I can feel when their moods will shift. I can ride the waves of our moods without too much worry about where we'll end up. However, watching a new family always brings new habits and moods. And even though the new family is so very similar to ours, it always feels nervous and new to me. And I always have to learn what I already know all over again! Generalizing, it seems, takes practice. At least for me!

6) I adore Jody, Xavier, and Gina.
I adore families. I adore how willing so many of us are to figure out a new way to teach and to love when we find ourselves in a story that asks for it. I adore watching The Brain Broad shine such love out of her eyes day after day after day.

*These five things I learned are from only one episode. And I could have written more. Seriously, friends, this show is a sparker of infinite thoughts, ideas, and actions. It can be seen (all episodes, and both seasons) for FREE on The Autism Channel. Visit my mom's site for more links and info:

Hugs, smiles, and love!!
Autism Answers with Tsara Shelton (Facebook) 
The show (both seasons) is also available for rent/purchase via Vimeo on Demand. This promo code will get you any/all of the episodes at 50% off: Awareness2017

Purchasing the show is a wonderful way to have infinite access to all that it has to offer. Also, you can (and I think you should!) offer it to events and schools. You can put on an event yourself! Not only that but your purchase helps fund the editing and filming of the next three seasons (Israel is in the editing phase). 

Please consider purchasing both seasons!  

Promo Code:

Season One (Uganda):

Season Two (USA):