Sunday, August 7, 2016

Poker Face

Pervasive Parenting 
By Kodey Toney

Poker Face

As many who read in the last column will know we spent last week in Florida on vacation. You would think that the "Happiest Place on Earth" (Disney World) would leave the boys with smiles on their faces, and while they did have a great time most people couldn't tell from the pictures that we had posted on Facebook. 
The funny thing is that every picture posted had someone comment about Konner not having fun. His expressions, much like his inability to read emotions well, are tough to figure out. Every school picture we have shows him with an expression that kind of looks like he's scared. I think they look good, but I've had people say that it is unnatural. 
So, as we were snapping pics with Mickey Mouse, Goofy, the Minions (Konner's favorite), and many others the photographer would prompt the boys to say cheese. Konner would contort his face and come up with this happy-yet-surprised look. 
I could tell he was very excited about the trip, and enjoyed many rides. I would ask him his favorite things and he would tell me, and he has been talking about it since we've been home. 
The moral of this story, or column if you will, is that children on the spectrum are hard to read. They have a hard time with emotions, but some think it is just reading them. We have worked with Konner on reading emotions since he was diagnosed. We try to help him read other's expressions. 
One thing people forget about is trying to help them express their own emotions. We make Konner look at himself in the mirror when he gets upset or frustrated. We have also taken pictures of him when he was happy, sad, excited, etc. we used those to help him understand emotions as well. 
They say you shouldn't judge a book by its cover. This is true I guess for pictures of Konner too.

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