Stop, thief! I mean, in the nicest possible way, if you please…

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So we took Joey to a dinner at our church. Informal affair like the one in the picture.

Joey likes bread, and the dinner included a spread of loaves from a local artisan bakery.

Joey ate plenty of the bread with his dinner. Then, during the clean up, the leftovers disappeared into the kitchen. Joey followed and continued to filch pieces of bread.

A couple of women on the kitchen crew, not schooled in all of the mystical ways of autism, objected with raised and stern voices. This made it a game for Joey – he realized that grabbing at the bread was building an emotional connection with the ladies.

So he kept going after the bread, sometimes with a smile on his face. He was enjoying the engagement with others. To their chagrin, correcting him in the way one would correct a typical kid was like painting targets on themselves… and of course on the bread. We finally took him out to the car when he stopped going for pieces and grabbed up an entire bag of slices as if to abscond with it.

The rule for correcting autistic kids is pretty much like the instruction for cooking wild game: “Low and slow.” Any spike in emotion will be matched or, maybe even worse, considered an invitation to an emotional waltz.

(Hope I mixed enough metaphors in that last paragraph.)

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