Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Another Elvis Sighting

I think I've written before about a blog I came across awhile ago called Elvis Sightings, written by a mom about her daughter, Joy, who has severe autism and other special needs. She writes:

The term "Elvis Sightings" comes from the book Unstrange Minds: Remapping the World of Autism by Roy Richard Grinker. It's a one-time utterance or action that comes surprisingly out of nowhere, and then disappears again. For example, one day Joy very clearly echoed "Happy Holidays!" from her Baby Einstein video -- words that we'd never heard from her before, and have never heard since.

With Ethan we have our own version of Elvis Sightings.

We have a clutter issue in our house, and some of it directly corresponds to toy clutter. I'm not talking about clutter spread all over our house (although yeah, there's some of that, too)...but more like collections and possibilities and options for toys all over the place, should Ethan decide he actually wants to play. Aside from Anna's plethora of Lalaloopsy dolls, Ethan has various toys piling up in different rooms. Some of them are probably too young for him if you're going by the "age appropriateness" of the packaging. Most of them remain on their shelves or in their bins for months upon months at a time.

One time a year or two ago my mom looked at all of our toy food spilling all of the place and asked if we might want to consider giving the food to my nephews, Ethan's cousins. They were about to get a toy kitchen, and the idea seemed practical, but --

Then we have these darned Elvis Sightings.

I wish I knew what where they come from, but they seem to correspond with some sort of developmental leap Ethan is making. Suddenly, I'll hear a noise. It's him rummaging through the toy box, a toy box he's walked by as if invisible for six months. I'll see him digging. I'll see him choose a toy that's not electronic in any way and actually take it out and play with it. The room will get surprisingly messy. I'll look over and see him playing with something I was about to give away and know there was indeed a reason that I hung onto it.

We're having another Elvis Sighting around here. Suddenly that play set from Toy Story is getting put back together again. Ethan spent a full 20 minutes building Lego towers (this is big, people!). Musical toys at the bottom of the toy box are singing again. We're taking out the paints so he can make pictures (albeit all one color, filling up the entire page, usually).

And then one day, Ethan will decide he's done, and will go back to his comfortable world of puzzles and books and Wii games and the computer and maybe playing the electronic keyboard.

I've learned there's no real way to figure out what triggers these sudden bursts of typical play, and there's no real way to convince Ethan to go back once he's out of one phase. More and more, I've learned to just go with it.

Sooner or later, Elvis will return.

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