First, I love it when one of my sons sends me a link to an interesting story or helpful piece of advice for my business. Sometimes it is a link to a great story like this one my oldest sent me, that appeared in this week’s New York Post, or it can come in the form of a directive like, “Mom you should tweet that!” from my middle son when I give him a hot tip on an app I think he would like.
Clever David Finch, a young man who was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome 5 years into his marriage, turned to talk show hosts to help him navigate the world of social conversation that comes naturally to most. According to the Post’s article,”To save his marriage, Finch — who obsessed over routine, itchy clothes, his favorite seat, fantasies about setting traps and so on — turned his obsession on himself and began studying how other people act.” He paid close attention to the nuances of language whether it be the actual words, voice modulation or pace of speech. These are all the subtleties of language that speech language pathologists break down into little digestible parts and teach kids on the autism spectrum. Currently I have a 6 year-old I am working with where we cue him with, “That is something to keep inside your head and not say out loud,” to help him avoid his obsessive topics.
Finch listened to Howard Stern on the radio and studied how he eased in and out of interruptions, maintaining the flow of conversation. David Letterman added the visual instruction of how to converse in a socially appropriate way. Now Finch had the cues of eye contact, gestures and body language to learn as it is paired with conversation.
Apparently Finch has been so successful that he has quit his day job, and written a book, “The Journal of Best Practices: A Memoir of Marriage, Asperger Syndrome, and One Man’s Quest to Be a Better Husband,” about his experiences which I am sure will be helpful to others facing similar challenges.
What an inspiration to teens and young adults who struggle with using appropriate social language–to be able to figure out the problem and learn how to solve it yourself!