Friday, February 17, 2012


I am FUN--at least to pre-verbal kids on the Autism Spectrum-- or not.  Not bragging--just confident and have had that confidence shorn up, every time I see the sparkle in a kid's eye when they see me. (Yes--kids with ASD have eyes that "sparkle").

Sometimes, though, I'm TOO fun and that can cause "sibling rivalry" with NT siblings.  The younger ones want to play with me, too.  The older ones are hurt that THEY can't elicit the same response from their sibling.  Actually, some parents have that feeling too.  It is hard to explain to siblings that I have CHOSEN to do this (or have been chosen, as I prefer).  It is a part of me.  They did not CHOOSE to have a sibling with Autism.  This is what I do. Every day.  I have honed my craft and continue to hone it.  Children, and even some adults, don't understand this.  They think that I just come in to play with their sibling and that they don't get that "special treatment".  And, for the most part, when I am playing with a client, I am so focused on the child and "reading" the child, that the siblings get ignored by me.  I think I sometimes appear "mean" to them, because I am so focused on their sibling.  I don't MEAN to ignore the sibling, it just happens as I am trying to concentrate on their sibling.  This is my JOB.  I am getting paid, by their parents, to play with their sib. 

Although I am able, and willing, to train siblings, most siblings are too young to "get it".   It is difficult to explain WHAT I am doing, WHY I am doing it and WHAT I am hoping to see, all while I'm concentrating on the child.  I am a multi-tasker, by nature and PLAYing is a muli-task job--to add verbal explanations makes it harder.  Some families have asked if they could video tape and then I could explain.  I think this is a great idea, as I can focus on the WH? questions.

Sometimes, parents will use the time that I am there to have special time with the other kids in the house. This is probably the best use of their time.  It gives them time with their other children and keeps distractions away from our play.  Sometimes, if the other sibling is at school, the parent(s) will watch and I will try to give them reasons why I am doing something and what I am seeing.  Sometimes, the parent(s) will go do something special for themselves--yoga, massage, etc.  THAT is a great use of their time, while I'm there! :)

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PLAYing with Passion

Autism, Floortime, PLAY Project