Thursday, May 28, 2009

Home-grown therapy

I'm 150 pages into Stanley Greenspan's Engaging Autism, and enjoying it greatly. The book explains Floortime, Greenspan's therapy method for kids in the spectrum, a connection-based model which builds skills through strong emotional bonds and fun. Greenspan promotes creating entertaining therapies that foster imagination, problem solving, and social skills.

Our main challenges for floortime are adjusting fluidly to changes in play and stretching the activity as far as possible with circles of communication. This morning Jack and I played with his "adventure tube," one of those flexible crawl-through tunnels. First he crawled into the middle of it and I pulled him around the house. Every once in awhile I asked him what room he thought we were in. Then I propped one end on the top of the bed and asked him if he could crawl out the top. He was giggling constantly. I put it back on the floor and he got in, with his back to me. Could I understand him if he talked and I couldn't see his face? No! How about facing each other? Yes!

Then we took the tube into his room. He got in one end and I elevated the other slightly. A convoy of stuffed animal friends slid down to him, then all the small balls we could find. Then we really got going. I wondered out loud if we could find more balls, and he suggested the balls from our magneatos, which are a set of magnet balls and sticks/rods. First he carried the balls to me two at a time. Then he used 2 of the pole parts and carried four at a time. I asked him if he could find a way to transport more than 4 at a time, and he did, attaching 6 together magnetically. Our creative play went on until lunch, and I did not look at the clock for some time, that's how much fun we were both having.

All this fun is still work though, an it's exhausting! So I'm quite glad Jack went to preschool this afternoon, giving me some time to rest and recharge.

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