Zoom Autism Magazine Issue 3 Spring 2015 - Page 25

I love quotes. One of my favorites is “All the world’s a stage…” by William Shakespeare. The world truly is a stage, and if you sit down long enough to watch the show, you might be surprised at what you will see. The other day I did just that; I sat down and watched the world in action. The action that day just so happened to be at the playground, and my front row orchestra section seat was a cozy park bench. My daughter was excited to see some girls from her school, and she tried to engage them. She eagerly went up to one girl and said, “Hi! Want to play?” The girl rolled her eyes and then turned away. My daughter thought she must not have heard her, so she asked again. “Hey, you want to go play over there?” The girl looked down at the ground, turned again and slowly began to walk away. But my daughter was not ready to let her potential playmate go, so she tried to walk around the girl. At this point I knew I needed to ditch my audience member role and quickly become a supporting cast member. I called my daughter over to me on the bench. “Yes, Mom? What? I’m trying to play,” my sweet girl said to me. To which I replied, “I know that, my love, but did you realize that when you asked her to play, she moved away from you and then turned her entire body away from yours?” She said, “Well, yes.” I continued, “That means she doesn’t want to play with you. It might be because she is having a bad day or because she just wants to be left alone or because she just doesn’t want to be friends or for many other reasons, but one thing is for sure – she doesn’t want to play with you right now.” Some people might think that this is harsh for a mother to say to her daughter, but I think it was necessary. My daughter wasn’t mad at me; she was relieved that someone finally pointed it out. She turned to me and said, “Well, then why doesn’t she just say she doesn’t want to play? It would be much clearer.” I laughed and said, “Ugh, if only life was that simple and people actually said what they truly meant, but that, my dear, is not the case.” These subtleties that so many take for granted are crucial to social interaction not only on the playground but at school, in relationships and at Zoom Autism Through Many Lenses 25