One of the early signs of Nate’s autism was that he was unable to play–with his toys, with us, with anything. It was so very frustrating for him and we spent many months in therapy literally teaching Nate how to play. At age 4, Nate’s become awesome at playing. He likes to stack blocks, put puzzles together, race cars, and lots of other activities that his peers naturally enjoy. But he has a deficit in a specific type of play–pretend play. Nate hasn’t demonstrated interest in becoming someone else (e.g. Curious George, who he loves) or in making his friends (read: Hobbes) or toys come to life.
Until this week.
Out of nowhere, Nate makes his toys do things. Instead of being thrown across the room in a distance experiment, they’re suddenly being used in activity-appropriate ways. The first toy that Nate really got excited about was the Fisher Price Eagle Talon Castle, which we got him at least 18 months ago. Nate likes it because it is interactive; when you push a button on the cannon or other accessories, the castle responds. Yesterday, we were sitting around in the romper room when Chad and I noticed Nate took the knight, who comes with the castle, and put him on the horse. And made the horse gallop with the knight. And made noise while the knight went for a ride. This might not sound like a big deal to you but, for our family, this is earth-shatteringly wonderful.
Before school today, Nate visited with his knight friends.
They enjoyed playing in a dollhouse, which is one of Nate’s favorite toys because he realized the rooms correspond to rooms in our home.
They also enjoyed climbing trees (using a ladder, of course…we’re still practical here…I mean, knights don’t fly)…
…and going for a tree basket ride at the zoo.
After school today, Nate and I are going to the toy store to buy every stinkin’ figurine we can find! A mama must fuel her boy’s imagination!!!