All of my trips to the hospital this week have shown me something I need to work on with my daughter who has autism. She needs to learn how to walk like a buddy.
I had been recognizing the issue before now, but since I am spending one-on-one with her and can take some extra time, we are working on this skill this week as we walk through the big hospital to and from her standing appointment for EEG testing.
Some of you might be wondering: What exactly is walking like a buddy? My first thought when I coined the phrase in order to illustrate to her how it's done was: People who overhear me are going to think of the song "Walk Like an Egyptian" and think I'm weird. And then I stopped myself and decided that it was weird just to think that and NO ONE else would associate that song with what I was talking to her about as we journey through the hallways. So there we are. I am so weird. But I digress.
Walking like a buddy is something that we all do. When we are with friends, associates, anyone we are with and heading in the same direction, we walk side-by-side or at least very close to it—not twenty paces behind with the leader of all the duckies turning back and telling you to hurry up. As I considered how to teach her about it, I explained that she needs to walk next to me because I'm her friend, and friends walk next to each other, so they can talk to and see each other.
Yesterday and today, we progressed to showing examples of people buddy-walking as they passed us. There was a large group of people who were not all together but several sections of buddies (2-3 to a team), and after I pointed them all out, she seemed to finally connect what it meant. She went into a mock jog to catch up to me and even be a step ahead, and she stayed that way the rest of the way out of the hospital! It was amazing.
When we walk our course to/from her last appointment, I'm going to see if she needs verbal prompting after making that connection. She most likely will but maybe not pointing out examples now. Let's hope!
And just for laughs, here is "Walk Like an Egyptian" for your listening pleasure: