New Play Therapy Games!:
I’ve learned to always work with what you have – and to think outside the box (thanks, Janet!).
I’ve been working on (but haven’t been able to successfully negotiate) a time where we sit in the playroom and play with actual toys. So like most things related to autism, I feel it’s more beneficial for both of us if we meet halfway. So I’ve chosen to use her affinity for the trampoline time as our new “therapy” time.
We both play on the trampoline a LOT – hours a day, every day. I always verbalize what we’re doing (i.e. saying “jump!” every time we jump together) because we’ve been doing floor-time/play therapy with her since she was 15 months old and that’s just how we roll.
Instead of just verbalizing what’s going on and singing, we worked on a couple of new things to force her just a little bit out of her comfort zone:
1.) “Do you want to…..”
Using WHAT we’re doing to work on the concept of “yes” or “no”. I say a few silly suggestions (which she thinks is funny), then go for the actual activity.
So I say, “Do you want to swim? Noooo (exaggerated and silly sounding – scripted that off one of her favorite apps and she loves it). Fly? Noooo…. Jump? – YES! Let’s JUMP! So we’re basically just working on the play-time activities we’ve already been doing – then trying to work the concept of “yes” and “no” into the framework of that activity. She thinks this is pretty silly but she’s learning AND having a good time! (And isn’t that always the goal?)
2.) Verbal Choices….
We’re starting to push the boundary with the spoken word just a bit. We obviously know her better than anyone, so it’s easier to gauge what stretches her vs. what would cause her to get upset (which obviously ruins the play and defeats the purpose of play therapy).
So I say, “Do you want to (a) jump or (b) march?” Every time she comes to me I ask her to choose. Sometimes I mix it up with spin – but she knows each of these words well and I have heard her say them clearly enough that I can differentiate between the two. I think it’s important that I chose words/actions that she’s familiar with for this exercise – it allows me to work with her withOUT her anxiety level skyrocketing. She’s started (at times) just coming up to me now and saying “Jump!”, “March”, etc. with no prompting from me as a result!
We’re about to head into the holidays, TeamQuirky – please remember to throw conventionality out the window and do what works for you and YOUR family! Lots of love to all of you and your beautiful families.
- Expressing herself verbally more and more (I’ve even heard two word phrases a few times like “Mommy, yay!”.
- Able to identify feelings via picture cards (ie happy, sad, sick, etc).
- Working off of “Potty time” and “Washing Hands” picture schedules.
- Actually ate some noodles and diced tomatoes! Making in bulk for her this weekend – so excited!
- We did Halloween our own way and she had a GREAT time.
- She hasn’t been feeling well – and that causes her behavior to become much more challenging.
- Bath time – regression there (again) – no clue why – building that routine back up using some of her current favorite songs from Sesame Street & Nursery Rhymes while we do bath.
- The puppy (Millie!) – we found out that for the first time in her life, she likes dogs! But she does not really like the new puppy – the nipping and jumping on her, etc. Things will only get better as Millie continues to get bigger, we’ll get there!