Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Top 10 Tuesday

Top 10 Ways to Engage with a Teenager
(ASD or not)

10. Lay in the hammock

9. Smell something cooking on the stove

8. Crawl inside the netted trampoline at dusk

7. Have a silly "yes-no" battle

6. Crank up a song on the car radio

5. Look through some old photo albums

4. Share a pair of ipod earbuds

3. Chill in the car for a coupla' minutes after parking in the driveway

2. Take dramatic deep breaths

1. Share a bag of Fritos

So often my attempts to engage Reid are really demands I make of him. No wonder he resists. I was sufficiently trained by Serena Weider in the Floortime modality years ago but I need reminders that goofing off is productive. Is it time to update the days of Playmobil guys and Winnie the Pooh to something more relevant to teens? What percentage of our dialogue with teens--on or off the spectrum--is inquisition vs. engagement, threatening vs. listening, corrective vs. receptive?

An adult psychologist in San Diego, Dr. Alan Lincoln, has an adult brother on the spectrum. He shared a story once that stuck with me. He was particularly busy one weekend when his brother called for his weekly visit. The NT brother felt guilty for being distracted and not as emotionally available as usual, pulled in a tug-of-war of demands on his time.

The ASD brother grabbed something from his brother's fridge, sat on his brother's patio briefly, then headed out the door saying, "thanks I feel much better now." His brother's relational needs were different from his own. It doesn't take as much as we think to make someone feel welcome, accepted, and connected.

Truth be told, Allie does most of these better than I do.

If anyone says, "I love God," yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. 1 John 4:19-21

Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.
John 15:3-5

The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.
Exodus 14:13-15


  1. My NT son likes it when I watch TV with him, let him bake cookies, have "Mommy-Joshie" dates at Starbucks...

  2. Thanks for the reminder. Its those smaller things that really make up the memories.

  3. I liked this post because even though I JUST turned 20 sometimes I feel like I am on another planet than my 14 year old brother. I often find the best way to connect with him is just to do simple stuff together like go to the grocery store, listen to music or show him a new band, talk about MY life because he is often shy to share his.

    Or just sit on the couch and watch the dog.
    whatever it may be.