Teaching Togetherness


    Dr. Pamela LePage, Associate Professor, UCSF

    At Autism Social Connection, we use filmmaking to teach social skills.  Once when a group of boys were filming, two actors were asked to walk down a hill and sit under a tree. What these two preteens with Asperger’s did was to come through the gate separately, walk down the hill separately, drop their bags down on the ground on separate sides of a tree and then sit down without even looking at each other.  Not once did they look at each other. The instructor immediately asked them if this was the way friends would come down a hill together. In the next shot, one child held the gate open for the other as they walked through and the other naturally waited for his friend to close the gate.  The two walked down the hill together, dropped their packs down on the same side of the tree and sat down together.  This time the scene looked very natural, like two friends sitting down to talk.  That small difference in interaction made a huge difference in determining whether the boys came across as being together as friends or being together yet still completely isolated.

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