Friday, October 23, 2009

Child's Play

The journey to remediate the core deficits of autism has been an interesting one. The cliche, "It's a marathon, not a sprint," is a good description of the past nine years for me.

Remediation has been slower than behavioral "programming", but far more rewarding.

Learning to change myself so that I give my child opportunities to be responsible for herSELF in interactions with others has been challenging for me. I've had to learn to slow down, wait, give her time to take her own response, shift her own attention and/or gaze.

I've been looking for opportunities for her to play with children at her developmental level, where the peer's pacing and attention sharing, attention shifting, response is about the same as my daughter's.

I found two opportunities through the church our family has been visiting for just a few weeks. The church wants all children to attend Sunday School in the place where they learn best. They blur the lines that divide children by age or grade, and bend the rules to allow children to go to Sunday School with much younger children if they need to. The other is a short-term Bible study which happens to meet at the home of a mom who runs a day care out of her basement.

There's a part of me that wonders if I'm doing the right thing -- maybe I should try harder to push her into a class her own age.

But all of that uncertainty melts away when I see her enter Sunday School and drop to the floor to join a child who is playing with Lego, and when we come to get her after the morning service, she's completed the crafts and I'm told she participated in the song time and even did the motions. She skipped to the car in the parking lot.

And the uncertainty melts away as we drive to Bible study and I hear her singing a song about going to Grandma's (that's what the children call the lady who plays with them there) and when I take her to the basement day care and she joins the other children in an activity-in-progress, and when I return to get her after Bible Study, she is playing in the play kitchen WITH another child, an activity they made up together (not something we taught her with prompts and rewards).

She needs more opportunities with people, including PEERS, who are "possible" for her. ("Possible" is a term that Dr Jim uses.)

I have to get over my "stuff" that wants her to catchupnow and allow her to be who she is, right now, and be ready to grow with her.


Stranded said...

Thanks for this post. I learn some tiny little thing every time you write. We are in the beginning of things :)

Stranded said...

I enjoy reading your posts. We are in the beginning of our RDI. Thanks for posting!

walking said...

Way to go with letting the princess be the person she is rather than the person others think she should be!

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