Written by: ROBERT DAVID CASAS, LCSW
Disclosure: To begin I would like to disclose that this guide is not exclusively for children, teens and adults diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, but has been effective for many of my client’s in developing greater insight with social boundaries. I have also adapted this guide which is originally from the book called A Five Is Against The Law by Karl Dunn Baron.
It is often that I meet with clients who are referred to therapy services due to negative experiences with social boundaries ranging from negative interactions with law enforcement, strangers and peers. In my experience, it is also common that client’s diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder have had difficulty following healthy social boundaries due to deficits in understanding social cues, body language and/or communication. Below is the adapted version that I explain with client’s via role play and/or pictures to help client’s gain further understanding of healthy social boundaries.
5: Physically Harmful or Threatening Behavior These are behaviors that are against the law. For example, hitting someone or grabbing someone’s private areas. You can lose your job, go to jail and lose friends by doing behaviors in the number 5 category.
4: Scary BehaviorThese are behaviors that could get you fired from jobs, lose friends and could be against the law if you do not stop. This can include swearing, starring or following someone after they ask you to stop.
3: Odd BehaviorThese behaviors make other people uncomfortable. For example, sitting close to someone without asking or putting your face close to someone when they do not expect it.
2: Reasonable BehaviorThis behavior is when you receive permission. This behavior is okay! All people get to know each other somehow and it is okay to talk to people in your class, school, family and friends when they are not asking you to stop or that they need space.
1: Very Informal Social BehaviorThis is like waving Hi at someone or smiling at someone in the hallway at work or school. This is Okay and is usually how people first notice each other.
In conclusion, if you are a parent with a child, teen and/or dependent adult who struggles with social boundaries – please try utilizing this guide! It is a powerful tool to explain what can be seen as a complicated topic. Please also consider reading the book by Karl Dunn Baron and looking into ABA services, DIR Floortime and/or mental health therapy for continued development of your child’s behavioral and mental health needs.
Reference: A five is against the law by Karl Dunn Baron
Written by: ROBERT DAVID CASAS, MSW, LCSW