Me and my kiddo

Me and my kiddo

Monday, November 8, 2010

Key Article On Perspective Taking

I've shared this article with my son's teachers and special education team because I think it so nails the key issues that I see with my kiddo.

This is the most relevant part for me because I find these challenges consistently describe him:

Impaired Interactive Perspective Takers (IIPT)

The impaired interactive perspective taker (IIPT) is the student who looks like everyone else at school, at least initially. The IIPT students have solid to advanced cognitive skills with solid language development. They have a lot of information about the world and will comment openly about their areas of interest. Socially they are very interested in pursuing peer relationships and they understand the “superficial social rules,” meaning they are aware that there is an underlying rule-based system that helps to negotiate social situations. They can tell you the more concrete social rules “stand in line,”, “say please,”, “don’t interrupt,” however, they have a great deal of difficulty perceiving how those rules apply to them. They have poor self-awareness. They are far less aware of the more subtle or sophisticated rules or non-verbal signals that help to mitigate social relationships as students’ age. While these students may appear “normal” on the outside, there are differences in how they process and respond to the more socially abstract information. It is not uncommon for younger students with IIPT to turn in their peers for breaking rules on the playground, while not being aware that the act of turning in a peer breaks a far greater social rule. Their struggles with social interpretation and abstraction become more evident as they age given the increasing complexity of social interaction and academic interpretation.
They are called “impaired interactive perspective takers” because their greatest deficits become apparent at the moment of interaction with their peers. Adults are far more flexible in accommodating to a single-minded conversation, but peers are unrelenting in their requirements that interactions be reciprocal. Peer based interaction requires not only the formulation of thoughts one might wish to communicate, but also persistent monitoring of how others might be interpreting or responding to the message so that the message can be adjusted as needed to meet the needs of the communicative partner. This is a social executive function task...
...In addition to the social challenges (which often lighten up a bit in high school), as these bright students go to college some of their greatest challenges will come from their failure to seek assistance or clarification, and from their organizational/problem solving weaknesses. While we might describe these folks as having a “mild” disability, given their many academic or cognitive strengths, actually due to their difficulties learning the complex skills of functioning as adults, their deficits are not at all mild. Many parents call my clinic to seek assistance for a 20 or 30-year-old child with IIPT who has not developed skills for independence with regard to life and work skills.
This group has the greatest likelihood for full adult independence, however, they may be slower than their neurotypical peers at achieving it. As they get older they also become more keenly aware that they are not able to process social information quickly and efficiently. This can be a source of great frustration that does not calm just because they are getting older.

Even if these folks make the choice to live with fewer opportunities for social interaction, they desire to be able to function in groups and to have close friends. They are generally terrific, friendly people with a good sense of humor when they feel comfortable."
I think it will be especially helpful for me to work on these areas where kids, who have had challenges similar to my son's, have found difficulties as they grow.  Of course, my kiddo is unique, but I love to take advantage of knowledge and strategies that others have discovered! :)

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