Look Me in the Eye Study Guide

Look Me in the Eye Study Guide
Study Questions
by
Kathleen Dyer, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, BCBA
&
John Elder Robison
To Accompany
look me in the eye
my life with asperger’s
by John Elder Robison
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Look Me in the Eye Study Guide
Instructions to Study Questions
This study guide is designed for students who want to understand and teach individuals
with Asperger’s Syndrome. Answering the questions in this guide will provide students
an opportunity to master the material presented in this book through active participation.
To complete the study guide, first read the chapter thoroughly, and then answer the study
questions. After doing this, check your answers against the material in the text.1
Prologue
Pages 1-3
The author discusses the fact that he did not look at people in the eye. People in his
environment interpreted the meaning of this behavior in negative ways.
List three of the negative attributions that were discussed.
Describe the reason the author gives for his behavior.
What does this mismatch between peoples perceptions and the authors experience
tell you about “jumping to conclusions” about the cause of peoples behavior?
Page 3
The Austrian psychiatrist Hans Asperger wrote about children who were
_________, with above average ________________, but who exhibited a number of
behaviors common to people with ________, such as
_______________________________________________________________.
Asperger’s syndrome was added to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental
Disorders in _________
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Look Me in the Eye Study Guide
Page 3-4
Before the condition was identified, what types of diagnoses did these children often end
up with?
Page 4
Describe some of the ‘rare gifts’ that can come with Asperger’s syndrome.
•
•
•
What does the author mean when he says “Asperger’s exists along a continuum”?
True or false: Asperger’s can develop later in life.
.
Page 4-5
Autism is a behavioral diagnosis, with a triad of central deficits in social reciprocity and
interaction; communication; and repetitive behavior. Relate the author’s description of his
own behavior to this triad of deficits.
Example:
Deficit
Social reciprocity
And interaction
Author behavior
“Often I failed to respond to other people at all”
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Look Me in the Eye Study Guide
Page 5
What is the author’s hope in writing this story?
Chapter 1
Pages 8-11
The author engages in certain behaviors that would be labeled as “inappropriate” with his
playmates, including hitting Doug and patting Chuckie on the head. Why did the author
do these things?
How did people respond to his behavior?
Can you suggest a better response to this behavior?
Page 11
People with autism often lack feelings of _____________ that naturally guide most
people in their interactions with others.
Pages 11-12
The author describes how he ended up playing by himself rather than with people. What
led to this withdrawal?
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Look Me in the Eye Study Guide
Chapter 5
One of the characteristics of Asperger’s syndrome is “encompassing preoccupation with
one or more stereotyped and restricted patterns of interest that is abnormal either in
intensity or focus.” What is the author’s preoccupation that he exhibits at 12-13 years of
age, and speculate how this could be translated to a functional skill later in his life.
Chapter 6
Pages 59-61
The author describes another preoccupation. Would you describe it as being abnormal in
intensity or focus? Describe how that preoccupation may have been one of the things that
eventually helped the author overcome the obstacles in his life.
People with Asperger’s often have “savantlike” abilities (areas where they have
abnormally high areas of intelligence). What ability is described on page 65, and what
does the author attribute this to?
Chapter 9
Page 88
One of the characteristics of Asperger’s syndrome is “stereotyped and repetitive motor
mannerisms (e.g., hand or finger flapping or twisting, or complex whole-body
movements).” What behaviors demonstrated by the author would fit that description?
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Look Me in the Eye Study Guide
Chapter 16
Page 151
In the book Asperger’s Syndrome, by Tony Attwood, Aspergian’s are described as often
being fascinated with mechanical objects such as trains. What are the reasons the author
gives he gives for his own affinity with machines?
Chapter 18
Page 175
Did the author’s difficulty relating to peers persist into young adulthood? How?
Chapter 20
Page 189
How did the author try to learn conversational skills? Was it successful? Why or why
not?
Page 191
How did the author eventually figure out what he should have said to prevent the
conversational breakdown that he had with Laurie?
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Look Me in the Eye Study Guide
Chapter 24
Page 236
To receive a diagnosis of Asperger’s Disorder, a person has to demonstrate a qualitative
impairment in social interaction, as manifested by at least 2 of 4 criteria. What are these 4
criteria?
Page 238
Asperger’s is an __________________________ disorder.
Page 239-240
The author discusses his shift from “being weird to being eccentric.” How did he make
that shift?
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Look Me in the Eye Study Guide
Chapter 26
Page 247
Why did the author show little interest in girls?
Chapter 27
Page 253
People with Asperger’s syndrome often exhibit ‘literal thinking.” For example, “Bite my
head off” does not mean that the person would actually get their head bitten off, but
rather that someone is speaking in a quick and angry way. Provide an example of ‘literal
thinking’ displayed by the author.
Page 254-257
What are the things the author’s wife does to help make the relationship succeed? How
would you use that knowledge as a teacher?
Chapter 28
Page 260
When the author returned to Amherst, he described his experience of turning failure into
a success. This occurred when people welcomed him with open arms. To what does he
attribute that particular success?
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Look Me in the Eye Study Guide
Chapter 29
Page 270-271
How does the author use ‘self talk’ to overcome obstacles?
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Look Me in the Eye Study Guide
Instructions to Discussion Questions
These open-ended questions are designed to stimulate your thinking, using the material
from the text as a springboard. These questions require you synthesize the concepts
presented in the text.
Discussion Questions
Asperger’s syndrome was added to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental
Disorders fairly recently. Before then, children were given inaccurate diagnoses by
mental health professionals. What are the risks of getting an incorrect diagnosis, and
accepting that diagnosis at face value?
After reading chapter 24 and learning about the author’s reaction to his diagnosis,
respond to the statement “It is bad to diagnose people, the label doesn’t do them any
good.”
The author describes how he ended up playing by himself rather than with people. If you
were a teacher of a child with Asperger’s syndrome, what might you try to do to draw
him out?
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Look Me in the Eye Study Guide
Throughout the text, the author described many mismatches between peoples negative
perceptions of the author’s behavior, and the author’s actual intention. What does the
authors experience tell you about “jumping to conclusions” about the cause of peoples
behavior?
If you were to design a high school curriculum for persons with Asperger’s Syndrome,
how would it be different from the High School that the author attended.
The author describes his encounter with a poisonous snake at his hotel, and responding
by shooting it with a gun and calling housekeeping to clean the patio? How might this
response differ from that of a person without Asperger’s syndrome.
The author discusses his experience in writing a resume, and that everything but his age
and education was true. He did get the job, however, and was successful. Why do you
think he was hired? Given that many Aspergians might be in a similar dilemma, what
could they do to demonstrate employability.
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Look Me in the Eye Study Guide
When the author went out on his own, he found working with the band a reinforcing and
successful experience. Given what you know about his creative strengths and social
skills, speculate why this experience was successful. Do you think a more conventional
occupation, such as driving a truck or working in a restaurant, would have been just as
successful? Why or why not?
The author discusses his shift from “being weird to being eccentric.” How can a person
with Asperger’s syndrome make that shift?
The ‘competence-deviance’ hypothesis states that the more someone can competently
contribute to society, the more society will accept that person’s deviance. Do you agree
with that statement, after learning about the author’s history? Please explain your answer.
In the Epilogue, the author talks about how he made peace with his parents. What does
this chapter teach about the value of forgiveness?
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Look Me in the Eye Study Guide
CONGRATULATIONS!
YOU’RE FINISHED!
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Look Me in the Eye Study Guide
Footnote
1
An instructor’s Guide, with the answers to the study questions,
has been prepared to accompany these readings. Bona fide
instructors may obtain the guide from Dr. Dyer at
[email protected]
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