Saturday, January 16, 2010

#27 Imagination

People on the autism spectrum often show little imagination. In children, this means little or no make-believe play. Jack's play was very repetitive, with little imagination evident, so we put his big brother, Nick, in charge of teaching Jack how to use his imagination.

Nick has enough imagination for ten children and accepted his responsibility readily. It worked. While Jack can still be frightfully literal ("NO! I am NOT a cuddle-bear. I'm a boy!"), he is showing much more imagination these days. He suddenly decided he likes Pokemon now, and he's using a bunch of random stuffed animals to represent his Pokemon characters. Only one is an actual Pokemon.

This morning, he wanted to watch Men in Black Two, and went looking for his MIB glasses, which he could not find. I refused to help him look, telling him it was his responsibility to keep track of his own toys.

Since he couldn't find the MIB glasses, he's wearing is glow-in-the-dark Harry Potter glasses. They don't at all resemble the dark shades with black plastic frames he calls his MIB glasses. The Harry glasses are whitish without lenses. But he's happily substituting anyway. This may not seem huge to most people, but it does demonstrate a level of creativity and imagination Jack didn't demonstrate a year ago.

I LOVE progress!

What do you do to stimulate imagination in your child?

1 comment:

JoLynn said...

One of Max's goal areas is to initiate play with other peers. Yeah, quite a lifelong goal for my little one. So I am torn, as I think the best way to foster an imagination is to leave the child alone (not just autistic children, but children in general). If I leave him alone, the encouragement is gone to push him in to play with others (the initiating part is just not there right now... or, maybe, ever?).

Just let them play, is typically my motto. I am not a mom to jump on the jungle gym at the playground and create play for my kids. I am pretty accepting of how play "looks" for Max. For his Aspie older brother, play mimicked video games. When he wasn't playing them, he was stimming off of them... everywhere... including in the middle of the grocery store, walking down the mall... wherever. Or he was drawing them. For Max, play involves a lot of lining things up, of course. But, this morning I awoke to pillows from the living room couches as sentries to the doors in my bedroom and bathroom. Next to them were guards... a shampoo bottle on one side, a bubble bath bottle on the other. I was asleep. Nothing I did fostered this. I just let him be, and, truly, I believe the imagination was there. It just manifests itself differently than what is "normal."