Monday, March 28, 2011

Progression and Autism

How Progression Raiding Is Like Working With a High-functioning Autistic Teenage Daughter*

1.  Progress may be in tiny steps.  The boss doesn't always go down the first night or the second or maybe even the tenth.  But if the adds are being kited better or people are learning to stay out of fires, that's progress.

2.  Because progress may be in tiny steps, it helps to look at the big picture.  How were things two years ago?  Look how far you've come.  This helps on those days when you just want to break down in tears, thinking that the boss will never, ever be conquered.

3.  Sometimes it's better to call the raid early on a high note than to push forward and possibly end on a low.  Morale means a lot.

4.  If it seems the raid has just lost it, take a break.  It will do no good to try continuing without one, regardless of where you are in the race (or homework assignments.)

5.  Rewards are great motivators, but they have to be the right rewards.  Offering chocolate to someone who would rather have strawberry accomplishes nothing.

6.  Everyone wants to feel valued.  Praise them for the good things they do.  Often.

7.  Organization and clear step-by-step explanations help to ensure success, even when you think everyone should already know the fight and shouldn't need the reminders anymore.

8.  Follow up on requirements.  Do consumable checks, even though you've already reminded everyone to bring consumables.  Standards will only be met if there is accountability attached to them.

9.  A little research is a good thing.  It's nice to discover that the method you stumbled on is really "right" or to find hints on how to manage your task a little better when you're wondering exactly how to increase your effectiveness.

10.  Patience is more than just a virtue; it is a necessity. Take a deep breath and think instead of simply reacting.

*There may be those who will misunderstand what I am writing here.  I am not saying that working with the raid is like working with a bunch of people with "special needs".  (By the way, before you judge those with "special needs", find out who they are.)

I am saying that when I hearken to my experience as a raider, I can note many things which are also true about working with my lovely, innocent, artistic, enthusiastic, moody, intelligent teenage daughter who has the challenge of learning how to get along in life with very high-functioning autism (much like Asperger's).  Each day is, for me, another exercise in patience, another puzzle to figure out how to help her make progress toward becoming a respected, accepted adult.  Her whole life, and mine, working with her, is one big progression raid, and the bosses are not easy.  (I don't think we've reached Heroic level yet, but I'm sure it will come.)  I love her to pieces and wouldn't trade her for any "normal" child.

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