Think it! Don’t say it! That’s the message we need to give to our students on the autism spectrum especially our kids with Asperger Syndrome. We need to teach that just because they’re thinking something, that doesn’t mean they need to say it. Another expression we often use with our students who have social skill issues is “on the mind, not out the mouth”.
One way I like to get this point across is through a visual demonstration comparing a coffee filter to the internal filter that we all need to use. The props I use are simple. I use actual coffee grounds, a coffee filter and a coffee cup. Then I ask the students if they think their parents would like to drink the coffee grounds. They typically say an emphatic “No!” Then I explain that the coffee must go through a filter so that it can then become something that their parents would actually enjoy. That leads into the comparison of how they too need to use an internal filter to help make what they say more appropriate.
After this demonstration it’s easy to use the language of “think it, don’t say it” and reminders of using a “filter” when participating in social interactions. This works, give it a try!