This week we have two 6 year old boys with autism attending training programs at The Autism Treatment Center of America. They have very different personalities and stages of development but they both have one thing in common, they are attached to certain objects.
One of the boys has held an object all day today, either 4 magnetic letters, or 2 chew toys or an L shaped block of legos. The other boy has worn an orange pumpkin hat all day. They reminded of a boy with Autism I worked with many years ago who held a packet of instant noodles by pushing his pinky finger against the palm of his hand all day. As he held on to this packet he managed to build towers, maneuver his favorite figurines and play games of chase with me, never for one moment putting down this packet of instant noodles. Quite a tricky task.
What do we suggest you do if your child wants to hold onto an object all day , or wear a particular piece of clothing, such as a hat, belt, shoes, scarf – Join, by wearing a hat, or holding an object as similar as possible to the one they are holding. Hold the object or keep the hat on as you play games and do different activities with him. Do it for as long as they do.
This communicates to our children that we acknowledge that the holding of an object or the wearing of a hat is important to them. By doing the same we are telling them that we respect this part of them.That we are not so different from them that we too enjoy holding objects too. It is our experience that this joining inspires our children to want to connect and play with us more.
Don’t you want to play with someone who likes the same things as you?
Enjoy joining your children in this way.
My son holds coat hangers all day, he takes them to bed with him, eats, and goes out too!