When we first experience our ah-ha moment when it comes to text-based communication with autistic students, it is common to want to know the techniques that lead to becoming a skilled communication partner.
Just tell me WHAT TO DO!
What we tend to not realize is how much of the “technique” has less to do with WHAT TO DO and more to do with HOW WE DO IT! If it was as easy as holding a board in front of someone, then we wouldn’t need skilled practitioners.
While there are important things we can do, HOW WE DO THEM matters. And that HOW comes from our mindset, our confidence level, and our relationship building skills.
How many programs focus on these three pillars in typical autism education programs? It amazes me how focused on technique many programs are, without acknowledging the importance of connection and trust with our students.
When we focus too much on only technique, we become robots. Our relationships with our students become stale. Our interactions become forced.
Over at Autistically Inclined we have created a whole entire course dedicated to mindsets that will change the way you experience your students ad the way they experience you.
And in our Communication for Education training program for educators (which includes parents and paraprofessionals) we make sure that we lead our teachings with trust.
We have modules dedicated to mindset, confidence, and relationship building. We hired autistic people to teach in the course modules with us. We have their eyes and feedback on the content we deliver. We asked them to share their perspectives and experiences on each of our module topics too. This is building trust, in action. We are soaking up every word of theirs.
Here is one quote from an autistic contributor in our Mindset & Confidence module.
“Appearances, I suppose, really matter to people. Each day I shaped people’s perceptions about me with my autism. It took finding that person who could imagine me before really seeing me, to break through. A person who believed in me and had so much confidence in me when I had none, was a person worth working as hard as I could for to push through the autism to relate back.” -Dillan Barmache.