I’m a play therapist. I enjoy my job. It’s fun.
I get to spend time with people I enjoy. Children and teenagers with autism or sensory disorders and their parents. I find there is never a dull moment. The kids are honest with me. Sometimes too honest. Sometimes I have to teach them to hold back on their honesty just a bit.
[I created an entire line of aromatherapy goods and sensory tools for children with autism and/or special needs called Star Essence]
Cute and Chubby
One young man I work with loves chubby people. He means this in the most genuine way possible. He thinks people who have a little extra weight are so lucky. He would love to have some extra weight on his bones. But his metabolism runs so high, he can eat whatever he wants without gaining an ounce.
His fondness for chubbiness extends to pigs. He thinks pigs are the bomb. In fact, one day with the utmost sincerity, he looked at me and said with enthusiasm, “Susie, you look like a pig!”
I looked down at myself in what I had thought was a very pretty pink shirt and both sighed and chuckled. I thanked him for his compliment. I then explained I understand he loves pigs and thinks they are awesome and cute because I know him. But it could offend some people, especially those who don't know him.
This shocked him! Looking like a pig is the greatest in his mind. How could anyone find that offensive? Yet, he possesses enough self-awareness to understand he can misread social queues.
We talked about how to handle this type of situation and decided on a solution. Whenever he saw a person wearing pink, who may be a little on the chubby side, he could think to himself:
“She or he looks like a pig.”
But what he should verbalize to that person should sound more like:
“You look pretty” or “You look beautiful.”
Occasionally, I test him on this. I wear my pretty pink shirt on the day I am to spend with him. He sees me and smiles big. I smile back because I know what he is thinking.
Then he says with earnestness, “You look very pretty, Susie.”
And I reply, “Thank you.”