Pernille Stockfleth is a professional storyteller and a Dialoogle coach. Pernille tells us about how Dialoogle can help people suffering from difficulties with social interaction and communication.
Pernille Stockfleth’s friend has a wonderful 14-year-old son, Simon. Everyday life can be stressful for Simon. The other day he came home from school angry and in a very bad mood. It had been a ‘really shitty day’; it had been raining and the bus never came.
Like the heroine in the popular crime series ‘The Bridge’, Saga Norén, Simon has Asperger’s Syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). He is very intelligent but introverted and has difficulties coping with unpredictable situations or things – however small and insignificant they may seem to others.
As he enters their home, Simon’s mother can tell right away how bad her son is feeling today. But as usual he does not want to talk about it. Instead he throws down his school bag and heads directly to his room, slams the door and sits down in front of the computer. Simon’s mother happens to be standing in the kitchen with two new sets of Dialoogle picture cards that she has just bought. She grabs a small handful of cards and goes into Simon’s room and says: “Take a look at my new cards. Would you like to try them? Do you see one that says something about how your day has been?” At first Simon looks sceptically at his mother and the picture cards, but then he picks one. He looks at it, and then he starts to talk. Suddenly there is a connection. Words flow from his mouth. He speaks, explains and his face lights up. He talks to his mother about the entire day and is almost unstoppable. Finally he says: ”Now it’s your turn, mum. How does my having a really bad day affect you?”
Dialoogle can work as a magic key and unlock the souls of even the most introvert people.
“That the picture cards make a child with ASD open up his soul and talk is amazing. What is even more remarkable is the fact that Simon asks how his mother feels about what he is telling her. This reaction in particular made his mother jump for joy” says Pernille. “It is rare that people with ASD are openly curious about other people – not because they do not feel empathy but because showing it is extremely difficult for them.
Dialoogle can help introvert children and young people open up and get talking – not just those who are diagnosed with ASD. A lot of teachers experience situations where their communication with children and teenagers is not working – especially because the latest school reform requires that children with special needs be included in regular classes in the Danish public schools”, says Pernille.
Pernille underlines that the environment in which Dialoogle cards are use is always important, and even more so when it comes to introvert children. The conversation must take place in a safe environment without disturbing light or sound. The child must feel comfortable with the person he or she is speaking to. If you are dealing with children with ASD it is important to use only a limited number of cards since using too many will overwhelm them.
“If the cards are used correctly, you are likely to see how they will work as a magic key and unlock the souls of even the most introvert people,” concludes Pernille Stockfleth.