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The People Priority–game theory


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Old dogs and new tricks

There are some lovely people around my neighbourhood and this particular bunch refer to themselves as ‘crafters.’ The term ‘crafter,’ is I believe, peculiar to America, as elsewhere, such people just have ‘hobbies.’ There are all sorts of subtleties that pass way over my head, as I prefer to remain close to the ground like the low life that I truly am. That said they’re a jolly and generous crowd, who welcome newcomers with interest and warmth.

As we age we become wise, or at least that is the theory. Personally I find that as I grow older, I become increasingly scatty, forgetful and what my son refers to as ‘random.’ I am prone to stereotype people, it’s shorthand. It’s one of my many faults but old dogs, mongrels, can still learn new things.

I find that I have learned new things and benefited greatly from attending three, consecutive, six week courses of puppy training. I only wish I’d completely the puppy training before I had the children. That said one of the things I learned, or rather had reinforced, is that many people dislike direct eye contact, far more than I had appreciated. It’s not just autistic people, it’s not just shy people, it’s all sorts of people.

I had this demonstrated to me recently when I attended a curiously American event, a side walk sale. A rough translation of ‘side walk sale’ is when sellers and crafters park themselves outside the shop on the sidewalk together with their wares to sell to the general public, face to face. I am told by those who know about such things, that the general public like to meet the people who make the things that they buy, although I’m a bit doubtful myself.

Hence, here is a picture of the lovely ladies meeting and greeting. Off to the side I am also poised, carving bowls. I’m side ways on, head down, absorbed. It is a non threatening pose that can prove very useful when you encounter unfamiliar dogs to demonstrate that you’re not an aggressive Alpha and just want to play. If I was Joe Public or the man on the Clapham Omnibus, I might step over the occupied woman and take a peek but I’d have a hard time meeting the ever so friendly and enthusiastic ladies, head on. It would just be too intimidating. I would feel obliged to make conversation and praise their work, which I may not like. I am a bad liar and I would be exposed as such. If I liked their work, then that would be great, but then I should feel obliged to buy something and money is tight.

So humour me? With whom would you feel more comfortable and why?

Hosted by “Tracy” at “Mother May I,” but the photo-picture below will whizz you right there with one click.

Just call me snap happy.

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Time wasting

My good chum “moritherapy,” who does all the psychobabble stuff, gives me a link to an article about how “autistic children read faces and interpret other people’s emotional state.” It is just the kind of thing I might have benefited from. [translation – at least three years ago]

Some autistic children are “notorious” for their inappropriate responses. Some poor luckless child scrapes their knee at playtime and the heartless autistic child with no soul nor empathy for the human condition, cackles with laughter. Some people are aware that the contrary is true, that in general autistic people have far more sensitivity to others, a greater degree of compassion, it is merely a bad wiring job in the “response department.” Faulty cataloging and a dodgy retrieval system means that response 35a comes out instead of 53z.

The “paper” basically tells us that the autistic child is just dandy at reading a person’s emotional state from their facial expression, although the paper far more detailed and interesting than that.

This information forces me to count the number of outrageously expensive books I have on this very topic. ‘Picture’ books with adult text, so that the parent can assist the child in learning this skill. When I think of the tortuous minutes I have wrestled with child and book on the sofa, in a vain attempt to persuade his eyes to look in the general direction of the very expensive book, it makes me want to sigh.

Whilst sighing is all very well and good for some, I prefer action. The most appropriate action for the current situation would be to hit myself on the head, with the very expensive book. More fool me for not realising, that if it is true, that this is a skill that he already had, then is it any wonder that he tried to escape? Diagnoses = terminal boredom.

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Learn by observation

Many autistic children are reluctant to make eye contact and mine are no exception. Additionally, they do not naturally orientate their bodies or faces to the person that they speak to. The average person, even when they leave mid conversation, is likely to talk over their shoulder as they depart. To have a conversation with someone who is in a constant state of movement is disconcerting. Generally speaking, it is my habit to attempt to reduce those movements, as it is supposed to help them concentrate on their speech, although I’m not entirely convinced. Occasionally, they manage it all by themselves.

I hang over the sink sputtering ineffectually as junior appears at my side. He lies his head on the counter for a better view, pillowed and protected from the cold surface by his long sleeved arm. “You are a spitter now? We can be doing the spitting togever? You are all better now?” I turn to face him, bespattered by toothpaste, grab a wash cloth and hold it close to my face.

“Do you get dirty when you spit dear?” He cogitates as white foam dribbles down my chin and drops onto the waiting cloth. He puts his index finger to his lips, an affectation that indicates that thought processing is in progress. His pupils sweep my face in assessment. His nose crinkles and eyes narrow.

“Er……you know I am finking dat you need to do the practicing more.”

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