People with autism take longer to figure out that people have their own minds and thoughts. They also have a hard time learning to see the perspective of neurologically typical people because their brains perceive the world so differently. Teaching this ability, theory of mind, can help smooth out and prevent misunderstandings.
The other day, I caught a great example of our effort to reach a shared understanding about glue during the crayon shavings activity. Usually, I let Pamela spread glue with a toothpick because she does not like the feeling of glue on her fingers. I did not realize that we were out of toothpicks. In this clip, she tells me several times that she cannot glue without the toothpicks. I knew this was going to be a problem for her, so I offered to spread the glue with my finger. I gave her a chance to think about trying, and she opted out of this sticky conundrum. I used this as an opportunity to let her know that I do not mind the glue. I described how the glue felt and how glue bothers some people but not others. My camera stopped filming, but you can get a glimpse of how the dialog began. (Google video is acting up again, so I hope I don't have to upload this again.)
Incidentally, Charlotte Mason recommended dialogues to reach a shared understanding in her book, Formation of Character. At the end of the chapter called The Philosopher at Home, father and son take a walk and discuss what the boy could do to avoid being cross. In Inconstant Kitty, the aunt suggests how the mother can encourage her daughter with a short attention span to stick with her dolly tea party longer by letting her know what adults do, "What! The doll's tea-party over! That's not the way grown-up ladies have tea; they sit and talk for a long time. See if you can make your tea-party last twenty minutes by my watch! (page 32)" The adults in Under a Cloud and Dorothy Elmore's Achievement have gentle dialogues to help them figure out how to handle sullen moods. Given time, I could give many more examples.
Ultimately, Charlotte believed that the mind is where all good habits began, "'Sow an act,' we are told, 'reap a habit.' 'Sow a habit, reap a character.' But we must go a step further back, we must sow the idea or notion which makes the act worth while" (page 102). Sowing ideas with a very light hand can only be accomplished through mind to mind communication between children and adults, even if they are the long-dead author of a living book. She covered in great detail one important function of parents, inspiring children:
That he should take direction and inspiration from all the casual life about him, should make our poor words and ways the starting-point from which, and in the direction of which, he develops––this is a thought which makes the best of us hold our breath. There is no way of escape for parents; they must needs be as 'inspirers' to their children, because about them hangs, as its atmosphere about a planet the thought-environment of the child, from which he derives those enduring ideas which express themselves as a life-long 'appetency' towards things sordid or things lovely, things earthly or divine (page 37).