No Response? Time to Join!

FROM KATRINA: I just have so much fun writing about my playroom time and my continuous lessons learned I want to share again because if it’s happening here at the Autism Treatment Center of America it is probably happening elsewhere in the world. This week at our Son-Rise Program Intensive we have a cute, cuddly six year old boy. He’s a barrel of love and hugs and surprise! – he also loves to play by himself exclusively. However my little friend is somewhat different because even when he is exclusive he is still looking at me and talking (making sounds). Yet, when I try to make a game or respond to his sounds he doesn’t respond. He continues running across the room twirling his scarf. After a few attempts of trying to make this into a game, I decided my friend really just wanted to do his own thing – and look at me. What else was there to do but join – and silently celebrate his fantastic looks.

Here at the Autism Treatment Center of America we call this waiting for a stronger green light– which means we will continue to join even though a child is looking or speaking until he (or she) gives us a stronger indication that they are ready to connect. This week’s child will come close to you or even run into your arms when he is ready to play. Yesterday when I played I joined some but I experimented with building more (making games), however I found that he wasn’t that connected in his games. After meeting with the team last night I decided to join even more!

When I went in the room today he was once again looking at me but not responding, after attempting to have a game in which he wasn’t really paying attention to me again I decided to really throw myself into joining. I ran across the room and giggled twirling my scarves just like my friend, when he looked I smiled at him and pointed to my eyes excitedly, but I kept joining. I had so much fun doing what he was doing. After doing this solidly for close to half an hour my friend who had by this time wrapped himself in a blanket scooted over to me. I then began a tickle game with him that lasted 25 minutes! Gasp!!! His average attention span prior to this session(this week) was 4 minutes! Wow! Joining him and waiting for him to choose when to connect inspired him to play with me 6 times longer than usual! Now that is worth blogging about!

If your child is like this (talking, making sounds, looking at you – but not responding when you try to interact), try waiting for him/her to give you a stronger green light (a longer look, a more obvious attempt at communication, coming over to you). This will really give your child a chance to recharge him/herself and be more connected when he/she decides to play!

Have fun! Love,

2 Responses

  1. Tracey says:

    Love this! This is exactly what Sofi has been doing lately!

  2. Anonymous says:

    brilliant, i had the same when my son was small, it was jigsaws that court his attention, he was three going on four, when he showed signs of contact, luckly he was at a brilliant school who communicated very well with me and him, the only thing my son was not good at was joining other people or being able to play games in groups and had to be taught, it was trail and error, the temper tantrums and frustration was very clear, he also had adhd, we still have these problems now and he is 13 but getting there, every day is new and you can see him improving, but must state that this is done when ben is ready and at his own steam.

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