I am a speech therapist who works with children. During a session this week, I drew this picture in order to explain perspective taking to a 4 year old girl with social communication difficulties secondary to Autism Spectrum Disorder. The picture was meant to assist in teaching her how to interact with others (listen, communicate, express), how to think about and interpret the emotions and states of others, how to connect the experiences and emotions of others with her own, and to facilitate an understanding that other people have different ideas and feelings than her own.
As I have said before, perspective taking is a key component in the development of empathy. Empathy has been a central force in my battle against my husband’s addiction and our journey toward recovery.
After the lesson, I asked the little girl to retell the lesson in her own words. This is what she said to me:
“My friend feels scared, I hug (my) friend.
My friend is sad, then I cry. We share sad(ness) because I use my eyes to see.
I use my ears and listen and I think about my sister.
It is love (for) my sister.”
After the session, I wept in my office. I realized this is not just a lesson for a child. It is a lesson meant for the world.