Friends and Relationships
Jelibean has designed a unique way to help those on the autism spectrum identify who their friends are. The 'Rocket Chart' not only aids identification but also identifies who they trust and with whom they feel safe. Sometimes there will be people that we 'think' are our friends but in reality the truth may be different.
Establishing special friends who understand us and love us can sometimes be difficult for jelibeans. All you need is paper, colouring pencils, half an hour and a willing jelibean. This excercise is not only a valuable mapping tool but it encourages one to one time with someone special. For older children and adults Jelibean have devised a 'mobile phone' chart and a 'motorway chart'. To watch our quirky powerpoint please see social-brain-and-rocket-charts-presentation
1. Ask your child to draw a rocket, similar to the one we've shown as an example. Please ensure that the end of the rocket is round to correspond with the round docking station. It's important to remember that when your child comes to colour in their round docking stations it must match the colour of the bottom half on the rocket, whatever that colour may be. Thats an important piece of information, so make sure you understand.
2. Explain to your child that the rocket represents them, ask them to use a colour that best describes them, and how they feel. The colour may be quite revealing. Red is common as it is likened to speed, heat and danger, black is also a strangely common choice, reflecting feelings of anxiety and uncertainty, and blue is often the colour choice of the shy retiring jellybeans, and there are plenty of those around. Don't panic if they choose a variety of colours. If your child finds it hard to think of a colour, trigger them with questions like - Is your rocket fast or slow? hot or cold? shiny or dull? full of fuel or running on fresh air? - give them a few ideas and a bit of encouragement, they'll soon catch on.
3. The rocket is themselves. Then they need to identify the people from whom they think they can get the best fuel for their trip across the stars. These are called docking stations. Their own docking stations are represented as round shapes, and they must name them as they plot them on the chart - who is this docking station in real life? Rockets need high grade fuel and their own round docking stations can provide that. But there are other docking stations for them to identify, and the child should draw these as squares or triangles. You can point out to the child that these are also fuel points but perhaps their own rounded ends don't fit easily into the docking stations with the straight edges. They are for marshmallows, who have straight edges. They'll then be able to see that some people help others very well, but don't particularly help THEM.
4. Your child can now add to the sky map different stars, some red and some green. The green stars are those friends which we can easily fly round. They give us no problems at all. They are good and reliable mates or class-mates. The red stars give off danger rays and flying too close to them may put their rocket off course. These aren't necessarily bad kids, but they're those who can influence our own child to do the wrong thing and perhaps run out of fuel or zoom too fast and need repairs.
Naming all these docking stations and stars will also give you an insight into your child's view of the world.