Sunday, August 3, 2008

"Brother" therapy, a New Approach


I would like to suggest to anyone who has an Autistic boy child who is an only child, to find a friend who happens to have a number of boys of her own, and hang out.

Case in point for me is my dear friend who I've known ever since our early Intervention Days with our sons at a shared preschool. She has 3 boys, one Aspie, quite intelligent and funny, and way too clever, 1 guy a year old than Casey, about the same level as Casey although much more advanced educationally speaking(but who is comparing), and her rough and tumble youngest who is cute as a button, and always full of fun.

She invited us over yesterday to swim in her lovely pool and we had a great time. Usually, everyone seems to be on their own as far as activities go, her eldest and youngest interacting the most, while Casey and her middle boy like to do their own thing. I have to confess we never tend to use these times together as a social skills excercise because we're usually too busy catching up and laughing. But yesterday was different.

First of all, there were a myriad of floating devices in the pool with us, one being a childs "Star Wars" theme float. There were several others that I could have used but were being dominated by various children. Trying not to disturb the masses, I decided that this little float could somehow support my butt, but getting on it was quite a feat. Everytime I tried, I flipped off in some manner, much to the delight of the whole crowd, including Casey, who rarely notices things like that. My friend's youngest offered that maybe I was too big to be on that float, which just added to the humor of the whole thing. Casey thought that was funny too.

After several failed attempts, I was simply holding on to the float once again engrossed in conversation when Casey came up and said "Get on that float again!". When I asked him why he said something to the effect that he wanted me to fall off so everyone could laugh again! I was stunned at his request and of course indulged him just because I was so happy he even asked. Once again I fell off, and he said "Mommy, I think you're too big for that float!". I was elated!

Later, when we were beginning the leaving ritual (he wanted to go, having computer on his mind), my friend's youngest and oldest blocked the ladder, making Casey give them a password to get by. He would come to me and I would whisper something to him, and he would swim back over to the "guards" and say it. He was of course never right, and would come back to get another password idea. This went on for quite some time until my friend got the password out of them and slyly passed it on. This lasted through 3 more password sessions.

It was really cool. Casey seemed frustrated, but at the same time, he enjoyed the game of it I think. And for me, I enjoyed it because he was simply interacting with the guys. It all made me briefly rethink and sort of condemn our decision to only have the one child. My friends middle boy gets this interaction all the time and for free! But like anything else, hindsight is 20/20, and luckily I have a short attention span and this thought didn't bother me for too long.

We rode home, he listening to Spanish radio, and me basking in the glow of a socially somewhat appropriate afternoon for me AND him!

PS: the above photo in no way depicts yesterday's activities, but it was the only photo I could quickly find of Casey swimming. The dog is pretty cute too....
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