One of the last things I held on to as an idea for therapy for my autistic kid was a social skills class. It’s cool that I didn’t push too hard to get that. Instead, really long playdates with a like-minded family friend a year younger than her taught her everything she needs to know to make friends now. She’ll talk about how they used to fight, and then they learned how to stop fighting by choosing to follow each other’s ideas. It’s a miracle and I’m so grateful that we found this good friend.
Something that’s been coming up a lot lately is being okay with other people’s mistakes. She has this rage, which I think is common for autistic people, when someone says something that’s just wrong or when someone makes a mistake. Especially her brother, who’ll get stubborn about calling something the name he’s chosen for it, not it’s real name.
So guess what’s helping her work through that? Being a fan of a craft youtuber and watching all of their videos. Because they have a sign in their craft studio that says:
Forget the mistake, remembe the lesson.
With the typo. And she liked that so much that she wanted to make a sign of her own, including a purposeful mistake. A mistake that she said pained her to do on purpose. But she did it.
She chose to accommodate imperfection and unpredictability in her world, because of something she’s passionate about: youtube craft videos.
We also work a lot at home, every day, on accommodating her brother’s mistakes and unpredictability. That’s the magic of homeschooling, I’m here working with them on life and social skills all the time. We’re focused on learning the stuff that’s fundamental to being a person in a family and learning it naturally. Because she loves crafts and youtube and her brother, it’s worth it to her to learn to breathe through mistakes.
The counter to this is the horrors ABA. Of an autistic kid being set up with mistakes on purpose, against their will, in order to turn their reactions into statistics on desensitization for an insurance company. Seriously, F*$& that.
I wasn’t a fan of anything as a kid, but as an adult and mom and homeschooler, I see how fandom creates community which creates learning experiences and healing and strength. With fandom, people come together because they want to, because it brings them joy, and the process of people coming together out of joy leads to learning.