If I were to list my own favorite things, I would include beautiful sunsets, a walk through the woods or on the beach, watching and listening to birds (especially hummingbirds), spending time with my family and friends, and reading a good book.
Professionally, some of my favorite things are these:
1. Brainstorming with parents, grandparents, individuals with autism, teachers, and other professionals to better understand the reasons for puzzling behaviors or “feeling stuck,” and to develop goals and “next steps” for achieving those. In the last month, I’ve met with the staff of a group home, teachers and paraprofessionals from a couple of schools, employment training specialists, a group of young people hoping to be employed soon, and several parents of children of all ages. I’m able to provide consulting and coaching services around the world, thanks to the technology of email, Skype, and phone, as well as meeting in my office with people who live in our area.
2. Teaching individuals with autism to better understand themselves and the SOCIAL CONTEXT (or the people who interact with them). As I help them identify others’ expectations and strategies they can use to meet them, it’s gratifying to hear them say, “I never knew that before,” or, “I’ve heard this before, but I guess it’s time to listen and apply it to my life!”
3. Learning from every person with whom I interact, in class or group settings, during a presentation or consult, in my office, and through email. You all have unique experiences, abilities, interests, experiences, dreams, fears, and challenges. As you share those, you enable me to grow, too—thank you!
Best wishes as you enjoy your favorite things this week!