How to help children understand some neuro-typical social conducts.
The following situation might be familiar to some: After a long day at work, mom comes back home, goes upstairs to her room, and realises her son has had a wonderful time spitting water all over the bathroom. The drops slide peacefully down the mirror, and she is happy she doesn't break a rib from slipping against the toilet bowl. True to her human nature, she succumbs to frustration and shouts:
-No Michael!! We don´t spit water all over the toilet! Bad boy!
Michael, unimpressed, continues to play with water and wonders what the problem is all about. Spitting with water is, after all, really fun!
After cleaning the toilet (for the 3rd time that week), mom realises it might be time to assume a new strategy. She chooses to accept help from her trusted ally - Thomas the Train. Michael is fascinated with Thomas. And above all characters, he loves Thomas´ train-friend Percy. So mom decides to write a story about Thomas´ recurrent spitting contests in her toilet room.
Her idea is to transmit information on a social conduct using a positive story that is directly related to Michael´s interests. The story, written down in a notebook and supported with colourful pictures, tells the tale of Percys´ love for spitting water and Thomas´s long hours cleaning mom´s toilet. In a few pages, mom describes how Thomas convinces Percy only to spit water when playing in the garden, because he must otherwise spend his afternoons cleaning up after him, in order to please mom. Percy happily agrees to move his spitting games to the pool area and is happy to notice that he has not only made mom and Thomas happy, but has also found new spitting targets in the many flies that fly around the house.
Once the story is finished, mom reads it to Michael every night, along with those other books they usually read before bedtime. Some weeks after, mom notices that Michael has not hosted any spitting contests in her toilet room. She wonders whether her literary efforts are responsible for the positive development.