Sunday, February 5, 2012

Play, Autism-Style

2010, age 2, up in his bedroom, before the start of the day:
I know what I'm hearing before I see it. Whump. Whump. Whump. It's the drawers in Ethan's bureau. He's climbed in the cubby door on the bottom right and has found a way to open the top drawer from the inside, again and again and again. Then, another sound, a creaking sound. The opening and closing of the closet door, over and over.

2011, age 3, up in his bedroom, before the start of the day:
Elmo is talking. Then Thomas is talking. Then the Baby Tad is talking. Ethan has decided he is utterly fascinated with every electronic toy in his bedroom. He plays each one, intensely focused, for months. He knows the answer to every question. He can play them with his eyes shut. He wants to play with nothing else...until the one day he decides he's done; effectively burned out. And from that day forward, he doesn't pick up any of them again for months and months.

2012, age 4, up in his bedroom, before the start of the day:
I hear a peculiar knocking noise. I hear the timer beeping. This time, I don't quite know what he's up to. I find him at the window, watching cars drive by and the lights on the neighbor's house. "When the timer beeps," Ethan announces, "Mr. John will turn off his lights." He sees a car approaching. "Oh! Here comes a car!" He begins waving his arms, making whooshing sound affects and lightly hitting at the window. "I got it! I was fighting that car!" he tells me. He looks back to the lights, and then the timer. "Nine minutes, and Mr. John will turn off the lights."

My boy is not going to push a car around and make vroom noises (at least, that won't hold his attention for very long). He's not going to set up his dinosaurs in an elaborate prehistoric land or try to build a rocket out of Lego models (at least not yet).

In some ways, my boy is most assuredly different. God, I love him.

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