I can certainly identify with my son in certain instances as he prefers to avoid social situations outside of school and prefers to occupy himself with his interests like working on the computer or reading his favorite books or playing with his domino’s or baseball cards. We encourage him to get more involved with activities that require participation with other kids so he can benefit by interacting and learning how to express his thoughts and feelings. It is very important that he learn to speak with others and learn what to say and what not to say. It takes time and the more he is involved in activities and participating with others the more comfortable he will get. I know that autistic children do have more difficulties when it comes to self expression and participating in group activities. As he grows I hope he will find it easier participating and making friendships and expressing himself.
Matthew has benefited in school with speech therapy where he learns the dynamics of conversation in various social settings and he has direct interaction with other students and does role playing which is a good form of practice and also can be fun. Matthew seems to enjoy his speech class and we have met with his speech teachers and they always had good things to say about him. They also were very encouraged with the progress he has made over the years.
They always say that Matthew is a very bright young boy and can express himself clearly and intelligently and he is a joy to teach.
I found that as I’ve grown and developed more self confidence I started to open up more and found that my skills have improved in my self expression and in my conversations. I think the one area of socialization I lacked in throughout the years was my ability to have conversations with the girls until I met my wife. Now I find having conversations with the girls much more improved as I feel I can hold my own with them. I try to teach Matthew that when he is in school he should try his best to participate in the class room and if he knows an answer he should not be afraid to raise his hand and answer it. He should also try to interact more with his classmates and learn to feel more confident and develop friendships. He has a lot to offer and he is special in so many ways. He has taught me a lot more than I have taught him and I feel he will do well as he certainly has the ability.
We benefit when we can express ourselves in our conversations clearly, intelligently, with confidence and with sincerity. It is important that we speak up and voice our feelings and our wishes. We make many choices in our lives and in many instances when we need to follow through we also must express those choices in conversation with others. It is a constant learning process and the more we talk with others the better we become. I enjoy having conversations with Matthew and I like to hear him talk and show his eagerness or excitement. When I see him talking about something he likes and he can speak for long periods of time I feel very happy because that is what it is all about. When you feel confident about a subject you can talk about it and express all your ideas and you generally don’t have the fear as you would if you had to talk about something you had limited knowledge of.
It is very important that I teach Matthew that he should always feel good about himself and he should focus on his strengths and always think positive. When he has confidence and is prepared he usually has no problem with participation. He is very similar to me and I know it took me a long time to gain confidence so I know exactly how he feels and I know he will be fine just like me.
Edward D. Iannielli III