Mind your P's and Q's. Be polite. I was raised with consistent reminders of how to show common courtesy to others. I can't say I was always successful over the years mind you, but I heard the message often and it did sink in. My wife and I have done our best to impart that same philosophy into my 3 boys.
On a related note, I so want my boys to grow up with a strong sense of self worth and self-esteem. I want them to feel good about who they are, their abilities and know that they are a valued person. Those with Aspergers struggle a good deal with self-esteem given their desire yet frequent failures to connect with others. I don't hear as much about self-esteem and those with an autism diagnosis. I need to check into that more...
At any rate, I wanted to comment on one minor example of manners and self-esteem issues. It makes me smile and I believe showcases the small victories we parents with kids on the spectrum celebrate.
My son M has an inclination to say 'I know' when you pay him a compliment. And why not from his perspective as you're obviously stating a fact! When I tuck him in at night and tell him how proud I am of him and what a good boy he is. He will lie there and give a dead pan "I know" back. He's right. He does know. Honestly, though, when I hear this my initial thought is one of concern that we are not connecting. That remains in his own world. I can celebrate that he's verbal and that he responds for those are things that not always the case with others on the spectrum. When I stop to think more about it, however, I have come to conclusion that he does know. It is a fact to him. He really is a good boy. Then I smile. I know his positive self-esteem is there, lurking in the weeds. At some level I need to get over the response because it doesn't fit the model I have in my head - no different than the French (i.e., don't say "thank you" to a compliment in France - say "do you really think so?")
Even better is that a few weeks back I commented to him that the more appropriate way to respond to comments such as this is "thank you". I explained in concrete terms that it's not polite to say that when somone pays you a compliment (ah - the hidden curriculum of social interaction raises it's head again). I suggest him simply say "thank you" even though he might be thinking "I know". Several nights later I was tucking him in and again I said something to the effect that he is doing a great job in school and I'm so proud of him working so hard. He looked at me and with a bit of a twinkle in his eye he said "thank you". I smiled. He smiled. He knew he had said the right thing. I think he also was proud of his ability to translate. To play the right card at the right time. A boost to the self-esteem and a demonstration of the power of 'thank you'. Progress!
Thank you for reading. =)