Guest Author - Bonnie Sayers
I chose Judge Judy Sheindlin’s Win or Lose by How you Choose! for my son to assist him in social dilemmas that would require some thought. Children with autism are literal thinkers and lack in social situations, so having a book to go over before any of these challenges took place was the key factor in the purchase. It is somewhat similar to a social story many high functioning autistic children use to assist in the learning process as well as a stepping stone for promoting further socialization. By knowing the situations beforehand my son can reflect on these pages throughout the structure of his day.
There are no page numbers inside Judge Judy Sheindlin’s Win or Lose by How you Choose! We jumped right into the book going through the scenarios until my son was ready for a break. The recommended age group is seven to twelve. I wanted to make sure we did not go through the entire book in one sitting, thus gradually making our way through the sequence of events profiled in the pages.
There are several situations that could have more than one correct response. Judge Judy Sheindlin’s Win or Lose by How you Choose! helps parents and children communicate which decisions fit the situation and discuss the outcome via these methods. These are everyday occurrences that involve not only children but adults and people that are going about their daily lives when they are confronted with a child or situation that needs to be rectified. The illustrations do not give away any answers, but do capture the confusion some of these dilemmas bring about.
Some examples of the issues profiled include:
Arriving at a birthday party with no present
Your brother got a piece of mail marked private
The line at the checkout is very long
Your friends are smoking and making fun of you for not smoking
Your best friend tells you a secret – someone gave them a drug to try
The ball you threw broke the classroom window
You borrowed a friend’s bike and accidentally broke it
Your friend wants you to give him your homework
A sample of the responses to a situation is:
Your father left his car keys in the ignition.
A. Tell your father about the keys right away.
B. Take the keys out of the ignition and give them to your father.
C. Turn on the motor just to see what it feels like
D. Drive the car around the block a couple of times.
This is an example showing that A or B could be an answer chosen by a child and each could be correct. This all depends on the conversation that takes place after hearing the response from the child and determining what the family rule would be for future reference.
You’re sitting at the lunch counter having a soda. The person next to you finishes eating, leaves a big tip, and walks away. You should:
A. Keep drinking your soda and forget about the tip.
B. Tell the waitress that the man left her some money.
C. Slide the money over to your side when nobody is looking, so it will look as if you left the tip.
D. Take the money and use it to pay for your soda.
Another example where either A or B could work as a response in this instance. One other thought to keep in mind when having a conversation with your child about these examples is if this has ever happened in the past and what you did in front of your child. This works well for families in teaching moral values to children as well as reminding adults that children are watching our every move for guidance and to follow suit.
One more example where more than one answer would fit:
An elderly woman is trying to get in the elevator and she’s carrying a lot of packages. You should:
A. Ask if you can help her with the packages.
B. Just hold the door for her.
C. Rush into the elevator and press the close button so she won’t slow you down.
D. Get in first and if she makes it … she makes it!
Not all the options that make sense will be A or B, sometimes it seems that C or D is the correct response. The book is not presented in a systematic format, so each page is another setting that might take place at an office location, school, home or other venue. The answers are goofy, smart, thoughtful and silly. The characters are both boys and girls and appropriate for each gender in most of the same situations. The pages show how friends behave both good and bad, enabling the adult to discuss issues now rather than later.
This would also make a good classroom book for a teacher to make copies of pages and give as an assignment and to utilize as a discussion forum. Parents will be enlightened by the responses their children make and know when their children are ready for more challenges ahead. This will encourage better understanding of social situations and offer some perspective on what they face on a daily basis.
Judge Judy Sheindlin’s Win or Lose by How you Choose! was a big confidence booster for my son. He enjoyed the discussions and laughed at some of the answers. These challenges brought new questions for him to explore and help him maneuver through the social mazes he encounters. Another bonus is going through the book a few weeks after it has been completed to see if answers have changed over time and experience. The book was used on a daily basis for the second time during the school vacation. The first read through was on summer break.
Originally published on Epinions
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