Wednesday, January 20, 2010

the thin green line

Martin's class has gym once a week. The kids go to the gymnasium. The first thing they do is run laps. They follow a green line around the gymnasium.

Today there was a school assembly in the gymnasium. When Martin arrived, he figured it was time to run laps. He refused to budge from the green line. I guess he caused a little scene. After school, we found the following text (called a "social story" by educators and therapists) in Martin's backpack:

"The Green Line
In school, we go to the gym for many different reasons. We go for assemblies, pictures, and gym class. When I am in the gym, I do not always have to stay on the green line. I will listen to the teachers and go where they tell me to go. Sometimes I will play in the middle of the gym. Sometimes I will sit on the wooden bleachers. Sometimes I will sit on the gym floor. I do not always have to stay on the green line."

For some reason, autistic children seem to respond better to complicated social situations when words are written down or pictures offered. It helps them process it all. We went over this text with Martin tonight. I asked him what happened at the assembly. He still seemed confused. "The children were lost," he said. "They were singing and I do not have to stay on the green line."

These moments break my heart because Martin so clearly is at a loss. He can't figure out what the world expects of him, even when it's spelled out on paper in front of him. He just wants to go to the green line and run laps, just like he does every other time he's gone to gym.


  1. i LOVE ur blog! i can relate to so many of ur stories & u have such an awesome way of telling them - relaying to us how u're feeling - putting emotions in2 words! thank u!

  2. Hey Mama Skates,

    This is rainmom's husband. Thanks so much for commenting. It's nice to hear that others relate.


  3. What I find amazing about this post is that Martin was able to communicate, to some extent, what he was thinking about the event. And yes, it takes him longer to process changes than others his age - but wow, his communication about his experiences is progressing!