It's nearly Christmas and I am very glad to say that I have all my shopping done. I believe that the Spirit of Christmas is about thinking of others including family, friends and those who are less fortunate. Sometimes, though, I get so caught up in my own interests that I forget that other people are may not share my enthusiasm for certain topics and potential gifts. Christmas shopping for friends and family required me to really think about what they are interested in and buy gifts based on those insights. I paid attention to the subjects they talked about and to non verbal expressions of their interests noticing what daily activities they enjoyed doing. Although I am a big aviation enthusiast, I now realize that not everyone in my family would appreciate a scale model of the A380.
Learning about someone based on both verbal and nonverbal ques has been something that I have had to learn through practice and therapy. It does not come naturally as it does for people who are not on the autism spectrum. The Koegel Autism Center clinician and I would go out into the main quad at UCSB and watch the other students pass by. The clinician would prompt me to observe different things including what clothes they were wearing. If a student was wearing a Los Angeles Dodgers t-shirt, that is a pretty good indication that they are a Dodgers fan. It also means that there is a good chance that that person is from Los Angeles (Not too many San Francisco Bay Area natives would wear Dodgers clothing).
Learning to infer details about a person just by listening and looking at them has proven to be a useful skill. Hey! I got my shopping done! Time to enjoy the holidays.... please pass the Christmas cookies!