Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Hamming It Up

One of the things that I do when I'm engaging with Middle Son is use exaggerated gestures and facial expressions, and generally amp things up as much as I can.  I started doing it as a way to get his attention--he lives mostly inside of his own head, so it can take a lot to break through.

Yesterday I was visiting a friend of mine who is in the early stages of what will probably be a very difficult divorce.  He had his two younger children with him that evening.  I noticed that when I was talking to his kids, I was pretty animated.  They were playing with bubbles and said they had built a "bubble machine" in one of the bedrooms.  I got all excited to see it, which they loved.

I didn't put the two together until this evening.  Middle Son came to me while I was sitting at the computer.  He tried to get me out of the chair.  He wanted me Rather than get up, I pulled my feet up off the floor.  So when he pulled on my hands, he pulled the chair across the room until it ran into the rug in the kitchen.

He didn't like it, but I giggled and rolled the chair back.  We repeated it several times.  I kept laughing and making funny faces.  I spun the chair around.  I pulled him in close and then pushed back out.  After a couple of repetitions he was laughing too.

Middle Son, as is typical with autistic children, wants to repeat the same patterns over and over.  He wants to play the same way every time.  This shows up with Oldest Son as well.  A couple of years ago he went to visit my parents in Austin.  When they asked what he wanted to do, he wanted to go to all the places we went on our last trip there.  He was trying to repeat the same happy experience.  Which is what Middle does when he wants me to go in his room and tickle him over and over and over.

Tonight, by hamming it up and acting like it was lots of fun, I was able to move Middle Son from trying to repeat his usual pattern to enjoying a different way of playing with me.

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