Saturday, September 1, 2012
TIP of the WEEK: Story Telling
One behavior that we sometimes run into with the child or adult is exaggerating or fabricating stories. Sometimes these stories are harmless and seem entertaining, but sometimes the stories can be hurtful, especially if they involve accusing someone of doing something that they did not do. In both cases it is important to look for the meaning within the story.
I once worked with a man who regularly told stories of saving people's lives, and being a hero in near death situations. These stories were so detailed that it was hard to believe that they were not true. Ultimately, what he was telling the people around him was that he desperately needed to feel important, that he had worth and wanted to make a difference in the world. With lots of creative thinking and job coaching we got him a job that allowed him the basic human right of knowing and feeling that he was part of something and that his presence brought joy and meaning to others. Over time the stories he told were replaced with true stories of the great work that he was doing.
If your child is coming home from school or work with stories of peers or teachers/staff being mean to them, listen closely to find the meaning of the story. The story may be of someone yelling at them but the truth may be that there is something in that person's approach that may be bothering your child.
It is not always as simple as saying that fabricating stories is a behavior of people with PWS, it is typically a way of communicating and it is our job to decipher what the meanings of these stories are. It has been my experience that once the meaning is discovered the stories happen less frequently. The danger is in dismissing the stories as "typical behavior" which often leads to more exaggerated stories. It is up to us, the people who care most for these children and adults, to find the truth within the story and help them achieve their goals in a more effective way.