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Sunday, November 2, 2014

Changing the Script: A Mindful Way to Handle Annoyance

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by Dr. Irene McHenry and Dr. Carol Moog

“Changing the Script” is a sample activity from The Autism Playbook for Teens and is reprinted here with permission from New Harbinger Publications, Inc.  

Instead of following your usual “script” when you’re annoyed (keeping quiet, staying frustrated, or getting angry), you can choose to create a different script. 
Often, your body can tell you that you’re annoyed before your mind can. 
  • Is your jaw clenched?
  • Do your legs feel jittery?
  • Are your arms folded tight against your chest?
If you notice that you’re annoyed, know that you have a right to be annoyed!  This is different from being angry that other people don’t know what is bothering you. 
You probably already know what you don’t want in an annoying situation.  It can be helpful to practice thinking about what you do want and asking for it in a way that will make it easy for other people to say yes!
You can follow this basic script:
  1. State the problem to a person who can help you. 
  2. Explain what why it is bothering you.
  3. Suggest a solution.
  4. Thank the person for helping you.
For example:  Your classmate is tapping a pencil on the table while you’re working in class, and you can feel it starting to make you mad.  You can say, “It would help me if you’d please stop tapping your pencil like that.  It’s making it kind of hard for me to concentrate.  Thanks!” 
Your new scripts will give you ways to help yourself get what you need rather than being stuck with the feeling of annoyance. 

Adapted from The Autism Playbook for Teens by Dr. Irene McHenry and Dr. Carol Moog© New Harbinger Publications, 2014. Reprinted with permission. 

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