AT-EASE Guiding and Learning Monopoly.

(Written by DM, 4years ago AT-EASE model from

I wanted create an experience of playing Monopoly with DS. We deiced to spend couple of minutes playing the game almost every day. At first DS has to be open and accept the novelty of the game which has many numerical operations (DS has lot of resistance to math), I just allowed DS to be part of the game, just rolling the dice & moving his coins. Once DS is at ease, I slow down, allow DS to take initiative to set up the game, wait for him to tell it is my turn, pick a card, giving the money. 

We play Indian version, US version, and credit card version to bring in flexibility, talk about how they are all similar. I talk aloud how DS can do the calculations, sharing that calculating and managing money are hard, encourage DS to use the calculator, nudging him to do the calculations mentally. It took a while for DS to do oral calculations and I reflect on how oral calculations are no longer difficult.  DS is now empowered to do the calculations orally, distribute money, enjoy playing Monopoly game.

There are still lot more to learn about the game and the concepts of mortgage, making money by building houses and hotels, winning/losing etc, which will bring another dimension of experience.

Feedback from the expert:

This is a wonderful breakdown of playing monopoly...however you are creating a complete experience on every level by maintaining your awareness of the AT-EASE model while guiding DS' experience... There is always more to learn the goal is to stay At-ease through the process of acquiring experience/ often parents and professionals are concerned with trying to get the child to catch up with their peers or obtain a left brain cognitive skill that the experience is linear; thus lacking the emotionally rich experience associated with at ease learning resulting in tedium, and the lack of motivation to return to the activity for everyone, which reduces frequency of experience and thereby adversely impacting a child's ability to practice trying in order to achieve mastery...the way you are going about guiding monopoly you are not only creating a positive experience in the moment while ensuring DS' interest in future trying!  Well done!

Relating to Circles of Relationships

(written by DM)
DS had the opportunity of attending couple of family celebrations last summer, where he met most of our relatives (close to extended), was involved mostly by observing what is happening, taking part in his way by welcoming everyone. DS takes pride in being open and welcoming, as kid he had meltdowns when either guest comes home or if he was a guest at someone’s place, sure he has come a long way!

DS likes to be connected with family, friends and relatives, but his lack of social skills and inability to understand the subtle and underlying messages has always posed a challenge. DS was very excited at the thought of relatives will never change unlike the acquaintances, friends who keeps changing. DS had difficulty understanding why some buddies keep in touch, others don’t. We had hard time explaining. We did have concentric circles to represent acquaintances, emerging friends, close friends, best friends moving outer to innermost connecting with examples from our experiences. Courtesy Social Thinking.

DS likes to go for long drives especially to airport and is very excited when we have guests. DD came with the idea of role playing picking up family member(s), building a scenario why they are coming, having a small conversation. We came with idea of concentric circles 0, 1, 2, 3 to represent close to distant family, what we share with each circle is different- we share everything with circle 0 and only central information as they become distant, who falls in which circle. DS was very excited and thrilled about the whole process, which triggered lot of questions from him as we continued. Why they are in that circle, why we share only central message to distant people, what makes family members close, why we feel like crying when someone leaves, if a person is in once circle can they move to a different circle in either direction - what could be the reasons, how do we call each relations in our native language and why etc. All these discussions have enabled DS in relating to different circles of relationships and also expanded his thinking in the area of friends/acquaintance as he began relating and connecting to the instances that happened with buddies, who are good friends, why some avoided, why some sent or did not send mail, who are friendly but not friends, who belongs to which circle & why. DS is articulating every relationship starts at circle 3, takes time to evolve to circle 0 where both have to reciprocate, which is tip of the iceberg.