Jennifer O’Toole has written the book Asperkids and it is a powerful read. Subtitled 'An insiders guide to Loving, Understanding and Teaching Children with Asperger Syndrome' I wanted to read it to be nosey because I have read some great things about Jennifer and to find out about something I know very little about.
In chapter 2 Jennifer talks about special interests and how they are like a magical portal through which you can connect and bond with an Aspie child. She says ‘There is no better way to let a child know she is loved for exactly who she is, or that he is actually more capable at Math or reading or sharing or staying on task or following directions if you build upon a love that is already an intimate part of them.'
This jumped out from the page for me. Our interests speak of who we are - our likes and dislikes. When someone listens to us in a deep and meaningful way and asks us about the things we love it tells us that they want to hear what we have to say, that we are valued by them. This is true for work and home conversations, with our loved ones of all ages and strangers.
We naturally do this if we have a similar interest – a shared passion for baking or a similar career path. It is also alluring to delve and probe into someones hobby when it is polar opposite to ours or seemingly risky to us – cliff diving or key note speaking.
The challenge is in the in-between, the mediocre. Where in our eyes the special interest is anything but special, or could even be an obstruction to what we really want to talk about, to find out.
I value you
What Jennifer put so beautifully is that in being curious about someone elses special thing we are showing them so much more than a passing glimpse of attention. We are showing that we value them and the things that they love.
What a tremendous thing to do.
Lots of information about Jennifer and Asperkids is at http://asperkids.com/our-creator/
by Tasha George