Understanding: The Free Therapy http://www.jamesmw.com/understand.htm "...There are a few basic things you need to know in order to understand your autistic child. One of these is understanding the way an autistic person learns. Many of you eagerly put your kids into mainstream classrooms so they can learn social skills by watching normal kids. Most of the time, however, the autistic kids don't learn anything--except perhaps greater fear, more suspicion, and better ways to isolate themselves. Autistic kids don't learn from normal social interactions. Normal events occur too quickly, are too stressful, and have unfathomable rules that keep changing. Autistic kids learn social behavior much better from things like movies, books, and Nintendo games--you know those things that they fixate on, quote from, and obsess over--things you're supposed to limit or take away altogether? For me, movies are a great social learning tool because they're non-threatening, they require no response, the viewer is invisible to the players in the movie, the stories illustrate major issues of human life, AND they can be rewound and replayed. I learn important social lessons from movies. And I have learned quite a bit about autism from movies, even though the movies themselves have nothing to do with autism. What I've learned is that normal people often act like autistic people when put in highly stressful or incomprehensible situations, similar to what truly autistic people experience every day. Hence, my drama troupe and I are going to illustrate my points by acting out scenes from various films. When I was much younger, I was supposedly unable to engage in imaginative play. That is a classic symptom of autism. Yet by reciting movies, I was engaging in imaginative play. I didn't have the language to create a character, but I could act out a character, I could become that character, I could learn about other points of view from that character. As soon as I could type well, I used to type out movie scripts from memory or write plays for my sister and my mother to act in. This was and is my social learning tool...."