April is Autism Awareness Month, and while my own children do not fall on the spectrum, Emily is friends with some who are. Recently, I had the privilege of interviewing Ivy from Into the Wind about her experiences with her son, E, who has autism. Ivy shares some fabulous ideas for hosting a play date with a child who has autism, and how it can go a little more smoothly. She also shares excellent activity ideas, and other tips for approaching this disorder. Welcome, Ivy!
Me: How are play dates with E? What are some things other mothers can do to host a play date with a child who has autism go a little smoother?
Also let your children know that if the kid on the spectrum stops playing with them to play by himself for a little while, it doesn’t mean that the kid doesn’t like them or doesn’t want to play with them. It probably means they are feeling a bit over loaded and need to regroup. As you know large groups of kids are loud and move quickly and touch each other a lot, this can be very overwhelming. Some kids on the spectrum will throw a tantrum, others get very very quiet, others will go to their rooms to read or play alone — like E. It’s a coping mechanism to deal with the stress of all the sensory stimulation.
What are some activities you have done with E that he responded to particularly well, and what sorts of activities do you tend to avoid?
If you are planning to go to the movies, be prepared for constant chatter. It drives me crazy, but E will talk a lot at the movies — and whispering isn’t something he remembers to do very well. So it might work better to rent a DVD then actually go to the cinema, but he certainly can go.
For inside play… if you can find out what the kid is really into and you have that thing or something like it — you are all set! E loves robots, and circuit boards and handheld video games and music. He also really likes marble runs and those are fun for lots of kids and they can probably do it cooperatively if the neuro-typical kid is patient.