Over a year ago, Anna and I overheard Melina playing a game with Daniel. She called it “Do You Know Me?” She was asking him questions like “What is my middle name?” and “What is my favorite superhero?” And he was answering.
Anna and I both realized at about the same time that what Melina was doing was absolutely brilliant. She had Daniel engaged through the use of a game format, and the same was a social game. By asking Daniel these kinds of questions, she was helping him learn about her, including aspects that that were similar in nature to his own interests. And by asking explicit questions, she was also giving him explicit answers, meaning she had him engaged in explicit learning of things that many children learn in more indirect ways, through more passive observation or social interactions.
She also expanded the questions beyond herself to include the rest of the family. For example, she asked him, “What is daddy’s middle name?”
It probably won’t surprise anyone that Daniel did quite poorly in correctly answering these questions. (When Melina asked, “What is my favorite superhero?” even I would have guessed “Super Girl,” and would have never in a million years guessed that it was “Black Widow.”) But these are the kinds of questions people on the spectrum ought to be asked so they can learn more about the people around them. Knowing a bunch of trivia about a you might even make an autistic person want to get to know you even better.