For the last few months we have been working on a new RDI assignment entitled ‘concern for guide’s distress’. Here are our goals:
- Ellen to recognise when the guide is feeling unhappy and seek to react appropriately.
- Ellen to distinguish between her own emotional state and that of others.
- Ellen to display concern about the guide’s expressions of distress (e.g., sad look, ‘’I’m sorry’’),
- Ellen is capable of a wide variety of helping behaviours (e.g., verbal or physical comfort, sharing, and distracting the person in distress.
This is a very tricky area for Ellen who only really expresses sympathy and recognition if bandages or plasters are in evidence.
It’s also one of those objectives that you can’t really plan for whilst still being authentic. For example, I tried to be very upset about the number of dead flies on the windowsill. Ellen just looked at me as if I was going mad and wiped them off with a cloth. Richard got extremely worried when his hands became mucky when he was gardening – she just told him to ‘wash them.’
One evening, Richard cooked a paella recipe from Deliciously Ella’s new book Quick and Easy. Packed with flavour and fresh vegetables it was absolutely delicious. Ellen however, came to the table, took one look at her plate and said:
‘She can’t eat that it’s too horrible for her’, picked up the plate and moved it firmly to the side. There was a stunned silence. Ellen never refuses to eat anything, if she doesn’t like something she picks around it, but still has a go. This was the first time we had received a total refusal.
‘That’s rude Ellen,’ Richard said ‘at least have a try.’
‘She can’t, it’s too yucky’. She said, folding her arms militantly. Daisy and I were trying not to laugh. Richard, who had cooked the meal, was understandably annoyed.
‘Poor Dad’, I sad, ‘he’s very upset that you don’t want to try his cooking’.
Richard made a sad face.
‘Sorry Dad.’ said Ellen, not sounding sorry at all.
A plate of plain rice and some fried eggs was cobbled together and placed infront of the unrepentant Ellen.
‘That’s much better’, she said, picking up her fork and eating with gusto.
We have, it would seem, some way to go on this one.