I started working with ‘Mary’ when she was in the fourth grade. She lived in a rural town over 50 miles from the nearest mall. She was enrolled in the local school and doing quite well educationally, so I started with social skills that needed fixing.
There were two things which bothered me most. The first was Mary’s method of eating a hotdog. Now I know what you are thinking, ‘What’s the big deal?’. I did not want Mary to be teased during lunch and I could already see some of the older students snickering. When first handed a hotdog, no one had given instruction on how most people eat this food. Mary picked it up from each end of the hotdog, twisted the hotdog so it went ‘bun, meat, bun’ and proceeded to take a bite just like eating a ham sandwich. Now this was wonderful transferring of a skill from something familiar, eating a sandwich, to something unfamiliar, eating a hotdog. She couldn’t see how others held a hotdog so she made her best guess. No one explained that hotdogs were eaten from end to end. Mary was shown once, and quickly picked up how to eat a hotdog and actually thanked me because she found it so much easier.
I’ll share the second bothersome thing in another Memory Monday post.