• Kristine Mastronardi

Get out of the road!


Jake, his sister Grace and his friend at Fright Fest, Six Flags Great Adventure

Recently Jake had an incident (Dr Gutstein calls this a “happening”) with his friend where he was walking in a parking lot in front of a moving vehicle and Jake's friend yelled out to him, “Get out of the road!”

Jake was embarrassed and off put by his friends harsh outburst. When we talked talked about it, a few things stood out for me:

I love that Jake comes home and shares these moments with me. 

That is due to the work we do with RDI, Jake was upset about what happened so he came home, and tried to make sense of it by discussing it with me, his guide.

I love that Jake is able to reflect on the moment. Jake is able to share how he felt. Jake is also able to bring in his prior experience to make sense of what happened.

I love that Jake can take his friends perspective, Jake knows his friend was looking out for his safety and he shouldn't have been in the road.

I love that Jake can relate to his friend and see that he himself has done a similar thing to one of his friends in the past.

I love that Jake advocated for himself with his friend. Jake let him know how that made him feel and asked him not to do it again. 

I love that Jake made the repair with his friend!

I love that Jake cares enough to make this friendship work!

I love that we are disproving what all the experts say people with autism can’t do!

I love that I learned the tools on how to guide Jake to make this all possible. 

It may seem like a trivial incident at first but when you break it down you can see the importance of being able to:

  1. Share your experience.

  2. Reflect on your experience.

  3. Advocate for yourself.

  4. Take another perspective.

  5. Make a relationship repair when there is hurt feelings.

  6. Maintain and continue a friendship.

All of the above, many people do to varying degrees of success.  But, they are all issues that people with autism can struggle with. Thankfully, through dialogue with a trusted guide our kids can navigate and maintain relationships successfully.

Thank you, RDI! #takethatautism

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