A Modern Day Fairy Tale: Mommy, Will You Play With Me?

Friday, May 10, 2013

Mommy, Will You Play With Me?

To a mom with a child with Autism, that simple question feels about like someone telling you that you've just won the lottery! That is exactly how I felt a few days ago when Shaun came to me and said, "Mommy, play with me...you be Toby and I'll be Luke, Charlie and Butch!"

And not only did he hand me the train and allow me to join him in his play, he actually played WITH me...not next to me, not simply pushing a train back and forth...he made his trains ask my train questions and have full on conversations...and I could not have been a happier mommy.

You see, for most children with Autism this type of play does not come easily. Kids with Autism don't always play appropriately- doing things such as focusing on the wheels of a train rather than playing with the train as a whole. Creative play is often lacking and their play skills tend to be developmentally behind what is typical of their peers- parallel play rather than playing together, not initiating play, etc...Playing seems like such a simple thing that comes so naturally for most kids, but for children on the spectrum, that is not always the case. They have to be taught how to play. (Of course, as with all things Autism this is seen in various forms and degrees by all kids on the spectrum.)



For Shaun, he has for the most part played fairly appropriately with toys...though had very limited interest for the most part. For him, the social aspect of play has always been his biggest struggle. Honestly, for the most part he would much prefer to play by himself...sure, he'd let you play next to him, but really didn't pay a whole lot of attention and certainly didn't initiate the play! So when my sweet boy asked me to play with him...I dropped everything, got down on the floor and played with him. (And when he later asked Daddy, Daddy happily did the same.) Supper may have been a little later and I might not have gotten done everything that I wanted to get done...but those moments are so much more important than anything else in this world.



Those moments are the moments that we see just how very far he has come in this journey with Autism. Those are the moments that show all the hard work, time and energy have all been worth it. Those are the moments that I remember when it seems like its a downhill battle we're fighting. Those are the moments we absolutely live for. So yes, Shaun...Mommy will absolutely play with you!!

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"Pleasant words are as a honeycomb: sweet to the soul and health to the bones." Proverbs 16:24