From Amanda: It’s a weekday morning, and suddenly you hear the roaring of an engine. You think to yourself, What is it? It can’t be a bus because school is out for the summer. What could it be then? Oh my goodness, it’s the garbage man. You run outside and bring the trash to the curb; Then, you notice a gigantic cardboard box that used to house your brand new washer (we’re pretending here) and realize, I will never have time to break this down for the recycling bin. Well, my friends, you can hold on to your boxes-because your trash really is some else’s treasure.

Last week, we had a child here, at the Autism Treatment Center of America in Sheffield, Massachusetts for a week long family intensive. He loved surprises, anticipation, big physical movements, and visual stimulation. I decided to brainstorm games by myself a bit before going into the playroom, and began to look around my office for ideas. I looked down, and on the floor near my desk, was a small box. As I looked at the box, I saw endless possibilities. I then began to think, If only I had a box big enough to jump from. I called my friends in the guest services department and asked them if they had a large box. They replied “yes”, and brought a large 3×3 box to my office.

Once I received the box, I immediately crept inside and sat down. Tight, but cozy! I then popped myself up into the air in a jumping motion. Yep, this will do! I thought to myself. Finally, I cut out two eye holes, filled the box with soft toys and scarves, grabbed a cool wand with ribbons, and went into the playroom.

When I entered the playroom, I was greeted by a beautiful boy of five years, with a look and a smile. This was my green light! I hopped into the box, crouched down, and waited a second as my friend ran around the room in excitement. I then grabbed the wand, some of scarves, and jumped up in the air as fast as I could, while saying “WOOHOO! It’s Amanda in the box!” I got another amazing look, and this time, a giggle, so I hopped back in the box and watched my friend run around the room with growing anticipation. When I jumped out of the box a second time, I reached over, and gave our little cutie a playful tickle. Again, another amazing look and a heartier laugh! Now, when I got into the box a third time, I decided to wait a bit longer for my friend to look at me before jumping from the box; So when he began to run around the room in excitement, and when I didn’t come jump out of the box, he ran over to the box, and peered inside – “YES! Great look handsome man!I love when you show me your eyes. This way I know you want to keep playing the game.”

We continued our game for what felt like hours; laughing, running, tickling, and loving each other. We were totally and completely connected!

So you see, your trash could be someone else’s treasure! Think outside the box!!

With love,
Amanda