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Siobhan - The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

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Abi Browne

on 1 December 2014

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Transcript of Siobhan - The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Looking at
Siobhan
: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

How Does
Haddon
Portray
Siobhan
?
Working with Autistic Children: The Do's and Don'ts
Treat them like an intelligent, competent individual.
Avoid using sarcasm, idioms, and metaphors.
Make instructions clear and specific.
Be patient.
a little extra....
Often when reading The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is becomes clear that Christopher's memory is unbelievably accurate - meaning that recalling conversations or snippets of dialogue he may have overheard stick in his mind for a long time. Linking with Siobhan, many a time he quotes something she may have said to him - perhaps reflecting how much of an impact she has on his life or how her guidance/teaching him affects his everyday thinking.
Common idioms...
So how does Siobhan do it
? When working with someone autistic so frequently (as Siobhan does with Christopher) one needs to be careful about what they say - a lot of common idioms that we say on a daily basis can seem ever so confusing to someone with autism.
Starter - Siobhan
Think of as many words as you can that describe Siobhan. - 3 Minutes!
Here are a few to start you off:
Sympathetic
Honest
Approachable
Discuss with your group and make a note of them... you might need them later.
Siobhan's Relationship With Christopher
Do:
Create a negative working environment.
Expect anything less or more from them than you would from a non-autistic child.
Don't:
When Christopher is around Siobhan, he often uses longer sentences.
Christopher relies on Siobhan, and trusts her undoubtedly.
Page 175: "This is really true because I asked Siobhan what people thought about when they looked at things and this is what she said."
He knows that she understands him and that it is her job to understand him.
Christopher DOESN'T think of Siobhan as a friend or family.
"And I decided that I couldn't go live with Siobhan because she couldnt look after me when school was closed because she was a teacher and not a friend or a member of my family."
Who is Siobhan?
Context
In the story there is no specific reference regarding Siobhan's actual personality or character - all we know of her is traits seen and experienced, in a way, through Christopher's eyes. But, due to his exceptional observational skills, we can learn about her in a more 'second-hand' kind of way.

For instance, Siobhan comes across as very
understanding
, and we can infer that, as she is working with an autistic teen, she is also very
patient
!
In some ways she can seem almost like a
second

mother
to Christoper. Having lost his own mother (or so he believed) made Siobhan even more of an important part of Christopher's life. For example, when Christopher says, "Steve, for example, who comes to school on Thursdays, needs help to eat his food and could not even fetch a stick. Siobhan told me not to say this to Steve's mother."
...someone autistic may find difficult to understand.
TASK:
TRY AND REWRITE THESE IN THE SAME WAY SIOBHAN MIGHT
:)
Example:
'Every cloud has a silver lining.'

we thought Siobhan could rephrase this to say:

'there's always something good/positive in something bad/negative.'
Your turn:
1) 'Toast the bride'
6) 'Pull your socks up!'
3) 'jump(ing) on the bandwagon'
2) 'I'd give an arm and a leg [for that]'
4) 'You're barking up the wrong tree!'
5) 'wash your mouth out with soap'
7) 'penny for your thoughts'
8) 'this is the last straw...'
9) 'when pigs fly...'
10) 'You can't/ don't pull the wool over my eyes!'
One example of an idiom from the book is found in Chapter 29 when Christopher himself describes how confusing he finds it when people speak in metaphors
"I laughed my socks off" & "He was the apple of her eye."
Christopher goes on to explain how metaphors ought really to be called lies - which, in a way, is rational! - although at the same time they also make perfect sense to us. It is true that we may not have skeletons in our closets - but in the context of a conversation idioms like this are perfectly acceptable.
In the same chapter Christopher tells us how Siobhan tried to get him to understand facial expressions - how to decipher them - in some way expressions are metaphors themselves - a mere raised eyebrow could connotate so many different things (as is explained by Siobhan herself also in Chapter 29).
for example:
"Siobhan says that if you raise one eyebrow it can mean lots of different things." -Chapter 29
In Chapter 89 he recalls a whole conversation [with Siobhan] about Father and Mrs Shears' relationship. At the end Siobhan says "I'm sorry Christopher. I wish I could answer all these questions, but I simply don't know." - reflecting an almost friendly interest in Christopher; an expression of actually
wanting
to help.
"Siobhan said that when you are writing a book you have to include some descriptions of things."
Quick Question
Find a quote in the book that describes Siobhan's physical appearance.
The team who finds it first wins a point :)
HINT: it's in chapter 7
take a peep at the Siobhan sheet...
Task:

Fill in as much as you can; what you write here could serve as a great help for your English Literature exam!
...if you're done: have a think about why the character of Siobhan may or may not be significant - without her, what would the book (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time) be like?
write this in your books :)
Just a short video to end... Let it go the Autism version
Quiz Time
Go to kahoot.it on your phones
https://play.kahoot.it/#/k/f60dd67a-a8a9-495e-9b6a-78685d455252
Full transcript