"Perspective taking is the essence of what I teach. It is embedded in all of my lessons. It is my favorite social skill, but also the most difficult to teach. The ability to see a situation from someone else's eyes is quite arduous for many people. This is especially true for students on the Autism spectrum. In social situations, it can be very trying to see another person's perspective because we get so wrapped up in our own thoughts and feelings about the experience. I try to provide my students with real life examples of what perspective taking looks like. This year was perfect timing...it was like the concept of perspective taking slapped me in the face the week before my planned lesson! I shared the following story with my students: The other day, my husband and I were on our way to school when we witnessed a hit and run car accident. Thankfully, the victim wasn't physically hurt. We tried to follow the aggressor to write down her license plate number, but she was like a maniac in a high speed chase and got away! I couldn't help getting emotional about the victim because I was imagining how I would feel in that situation. I thought about so many things...how my baby was in the car and what if he got hurt, how expensive it would be to fix the car, how unfair it would be to pay for the damages when it was clearly the wrongdoer's fault etc... Using this real life example helped the students to do some quality perspective taking.
Here's the lesson:
I start with showing them various shoes, ranging from a baby shoe to a high heel to a man's running shoe. I ask them questions about what they can tell about each of the people who might wear the footwear. We talk about who the person is, where they might be going, what they might like to do etc. We come to the conclusion that the people who wear the shoes are very different from each other and thus, have different thoughts and feelings. Then, we talk about the idiom, "Put yourself in someone else's shoes". My students LOVE idioms! We discuss how we can't literally put ourselves in certain shoes because they won't fit or we wouldn't choose to wear them because we are all so different. After discussing what perspective taking means using the visual attached below, I show them various pictures and ask inference/perspective taking questions. Some of the resources I use: "What are they thinking?" Webber Fun Deck, The Language of Perspective Taking, and Jill Kuzma's perspective taking resources. I also have a board on my Pinterest page (I've mentioned this obsession before, right?!) dedicated to Perspective Taking and Inference. I use those images to ask the students questions that get them thinking like the people in the scenarios. Then, I give them a page where they have to think like someone else to fill in the blanks. This is a great exercise for thinking like someone else!
Perspective taking is one of the most beneficial skills we can cultivate in our children. The ability to see things from different perspectives will make children more compassionate, flexible and understanding. One of my brilliant friends coined my favorite saying, "Perspective, pass it on!". I try to keep this in mind at all times and hope to instill this skill in my students and my son!"
Click on the above picture to grab the freebie, and click here for another perspective taking activity link.
Am I not so lucky that I get to work next door to this master-mind?!?
Love ya Ang!
Don't forget to email me your ideas!