A sweet pre-teen diagnosed with autism did not seem to be aware of her bad habit of standing very close to people and touching their face or hair. Nagging, pleading, and fussing did not make any impact on the inappropriate behavior. Because she was rather obsessively interested in rhyming words, this poem piqued her interest, taught her more appropriate social skills, and changed her behavior.
There once was a girl named Fifi
who lived in the land of Déjà vu.
She lived in a cottage with her family and her cats:
Penelope, Jacques, and Curly Cue.
Fifi loved singing and reading and swimming
and cats and poetry and traveling, too.
She rode in cars and airplanes and kayaks and bikes,
exploring towns and country with exquisite views.
Fifi went to school each day with a yearning for learning.
She liked reading and recess and math the most
But she had a very bad habit each day
of touching her friends and standing too close.
Fifi touched her friend’s arms. Fifi touched her friend’s hair.
Fifi stood very close to talk. People did NOT like her being so near!
“What to do?” said her teacher and her mom and her dad.
“What to do?” said Penelope, Jacques, and Curly Cue.
“What to do?” said Fifi’s friend, Cathy Knoll.
All were wondering about the solution: “WHAT TO DO?!?”
Fifi’s friend Cathy Knoll said, Let’s try this every time
You stand or sit next to one of your friends:
Just reach your hand out with a smile and say, “Hi!”
Give a handshake, stay back, and FOLD YOUR HANDS!
So now Fifi is trying to change that annoying habit
Of getting too close and touching her friends.
Now Fifi reaches her hand out with a smile and says, “Hi!”
She gives a handshake, stays back, and FOLDS HER HANDS!
NOTE TO READERS AND LISTENERS: I am Cathy Knoll, a board certified music therapist and long-time friend of many folks with autism. At FAQautism.com we are committed to providing free, practical, everyday tips for making life better for people with autism. Feel free to send me an email with your thoughts or challenging situations or innovative solution. Send email to talk@FAQautism.com And don’t forget to check out our website for a wealth of ideas and a glimpse into the world of autism. http://FAQautism.com