Friday, November 22, 2013

ASD Children and Free Play

Many ASD, SPD and ADHD children can have a tough time during free play. Aside from the difficulty reading social cues, everyone's energy level naturally goes up during play time. Since many of us are hyper-sensitive to this energy, we will often feed on and respond to our perception of their energy. Subsequently, our own energy and excitement can go up a hundred fold. Long term, daily sensory integration exercises morning and afternoon is what I advocate. It is critical for long term development. That said, one strategy I use is to reorient their perception by having them IMAGINE themselves playing in various real-world situations. (NOTE: the situations MUST be specific in people, location, time of day, sights, sounds, smells, etc.) Now, what I typically teach parents to so is pick a time when the child is relatively calm, take him through some relaxation and focusing exercises and then run the visualization technique. Run only one specific scene a day. run it 3 to4 times (about 5 to 10 minutes each) It is important that in the visualization, he first runs through the visualization AS AN OBSERVER, dissociated, watching himself play APPROPRIATELY. Only Then run through the visualization LOOKING THROUGH HIS OWN EYES, associated into the experience--the experience of playing and feeling the energy and excitement of others without being overwhelmed by it. As an aside, this is the technique that got ME (not my child, me) though Disneyland. Hope that helps.


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