From Amanda-Being Creative

Good Morning Dear Son Rise Program Parents and Friends,

When I first began my work here as a Child Facilitator at the Autism Treatment Center of America, I had serious challenges with creativity. The challenge was not that I lacked creativity, rather it was that I did not trust in my creativity. I thought I had to come up with amazing games and themes to bring into the playroom or it would be a direct reflection of who I was as a person and a facilitator. Boy was I wrong.

My perception of creativity changed one day in a themes class with one of our amazing Son Rise Program Teachers. She arrived in the classroom with a satchel full of objects. For an entire hour she had each of us reach into the bag and grab an object. The idea was to use it as a prop in as many ways you could possibly think to use it. We were encouraged to think outside the realm of ordinary and really go for creativity. There were things like hand weights that we used turned into heavy buckets; there were hats that we used as cauldron to stir a witches brew; there was a fake piece of fruit that we turned into a telephone; and so on. When I first began to partake in this activity, I would pause and try to think of what to do with the prop. My teacher then said “Just do the first thing that comes to your mind!”. Well, after she said that my creative juices began to flow and I was fantastic. Come to find out, I had quite a knack at being creative. The only thing that changed is that I went from judging myself to completely trusting myself and my abilities. I went from discomfort to being totally comfortable. Yippee! I allowed myself to be a kid again.

Being creative and playful in the playroom doesn’t have to be an agonizing and dreadful experience. You can decide to let yourself go and be a child and you can practice this even when you aren’t in the playroom. Last week we had a mom here for a Son Rise Program Family Intensive and we had just finished their group meeting. For the last 45 minutes of the meeting we brain storm games to help the parents think of themes for their child. When we were done she was thanking us for helping her tap into her creative energy and then she began top laugh. She was looking at a piece of paper on the table and said “I can’t help but think of all the different things I can do with a simple piece of paper now.”

I too practice at home. Just last weekend I filled a satchel with props and played the very same game I played in class with my own children. Not only did I get to brush up on my own skills but my children and I had a blast playing a really great game together!

Let go and have fun with your creativity!

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