This post originally appeared on the Field Notes on Allistics Tumblr.
Does anyone have a good activity or method for teaching children the concept of Articulate Hands?
Our allistic kids, Al Jr. and Alia, insist on using their voices to “communicate” everything, and I have had it up to here with the strings of verbal gibberish and sheer volume level. I’ve tried explaining to them that their words are not as expressive as their hands, that expecting people to look them in the eye while they speak instead of watching their hands from the peripheral vision is rude, and that words are meant for writing, not saying. (This last one, so dependent on the associative power of words, goes right over their wee heads.) I’ve tried depriving them of dessert for failing to observe “articulate hands.” I’ve even tried hiring a therapist to hold up their hands for them whenever they talk! (It looks ridiculous. I feel a little guilty, but the therapist swears it helps.)
So far, nothing. Not even an attempt. My allistic kids keep insisting that they can’t possibly talk and use their hands at the same time. They do a fine job of talking and using their hands at the same time while playing video games with their friends (always until they “beat” another player and never meticulously – zero interest in beating their own times on Mario Kart, for example, as long as they “win the race”), but when I ask them to do it like civilized people, nothing but fuss and racket. UGH!
Maybe Allism Speaks has some ideas. Does anyone know?