Yesterday, I covered a coworker’s lunch. I went into a class of adults who have “moderate to severe” autism. This usually means that they have low/no verbal behavior, limited self-regulation and self-help skills, and a higher probability to engage in aggression when frustrated. I used this opportunity to teach one of the students about consent.
He loves to tickle and be tickled. When he reached towards me to grab my hand or my arm to pull me closer I would sign “yes” and step forward. He would hold my hand or tickle me. After we had “yes” down, I taught “no”. When he reached towards me I would sign “no” and step just out of reach. He caught on really fast.
After that, I started asking for his consent before tickling him. I watched his body (he would rock back and open his arms) to let me know he wanted to be tickled. I would ask “Can I tickle?” and he would sign yes and he would get tickled. I would also reinforce the sign for more.
This is an example of using a student’s interest to teach a skill. I cannot stress enough how much you do not need to be at a table lecturing or reinforcing ‘sitting still’ and “eyes on me” to teach a concept.