“I could enjoy friendship and good times. It was my lack of skills, not lack of motivation, that had held me back. Now I was competent enough socially to open my life a wider range of people. I could have more friends.” –Excerpt from The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
This summer I read the New York Times bestseller, The Rosie Project. I loved it. The Rosie Project is about Don’s search for a wife, but his search is impeded by his strict adherence to rules, disregard for social protocol, and difficulty applying social advice. Does this sound like anyone you know? A talented, beautiful person whose difficulty connecting with others keeps him from reaching his potential?
People like Don are my favorite. They are unique, brilliant individuals who are unabashedly themselves. Unfortunately, sometimes what makes them so special is what makes it difficult for them to have meaningful shared experiences with other people. How do you help improve people in this area without trying to change them?
At one point in the book, a woman asks Don, “You changed yourself for me?” and he responds, “Only my behavior.” What a perfect way to explain it. Helping people understand social expectations helps them maneuver their way through life easier, but it doesn’t change who a person is inside. You can still love Minecraft, Legos, and Excel spreadsheets, but you need to learn when it’s appropriate to talk about them, how much time is appropriate to allocate to them, and be able to communicate with people who have different interests. The person doesn’t change, only the behavior.
I am so excited to be launching Sounds and Symbols this fall. I love helping people like Don learn social rules and expectations so they can succeed in life. Becoming a better social communicator doesn’t happen overnight. The Don in your life probably needs a lot of advising and coaching by everyone in his community to have successful people encounters. I have had valuable opportunities to train with experts in the field of social communication, and I want to share what I’ve learned.
This fall my goal is to get to know the high-functioning autism, Asperger’s, and related communities in the Denver area. I am offering 1-on-1 therapy services from my office in Littleton in hopes of putting compatible students in social groups beginning in January. I hope you’ll consider giving me a call at (720) 937-3007 so we can determine if I’m a fit for helping your Don.