The praise is first! Our church has a pad that we pass around and sign to help them figure out attendance. Pamela signed her name in cursive very neatly. The lady sitting next to her is a schoolteacher, and she marveled at how beautiful Pamela's handwriting looked. Her mouth dropped when I told her that, when Pamela was seven, she screamed when I handed her a pencil! The teacher smiled and said, "You would never know by the way she writes now!"
I have been getting some helpful feedback from friends, so I thought I would share for those of you lone rangers like me! First, I need to think about balance in terms of the amount, length, and pace of my speech. When I make one comment, I need to give Pamela plenty of time to make one comment. By doing so I allow her to be competent in the conversation and hold up her end of the conversation at a pace that makes her comfortable. Nonverbal statements like a head shake or nod count as a comment. That may mean that I have to pause and wait patiently.
Second, I need to make sure to say how I was feeling when I am sharing my perspective to foster episodic memory. The emotional aspect of episodic memory is the area of greatest challenge for many people with autism.