Since Roger did not have school today, I was able to schedule an early morning play date before I had to work. It’s interesting when therapists tell me that in his play and speech, Roger acts like a pretty typical toddler. Then I remember that these specific therapists only work with developmentally delayed children and do not have kids of their own. They seem so assured that he is playing appropriately and speaking appropriately for his age. I am doubting they have viewed him playing with “typical” toddler-aged children.
The difference is glaring. Roger remains pretty much by himself and usually does not play with the toys as they are meant to be played with. He will pick up motorcycles and fire engines and inspect them/spin the wheels. If you encourage him to put his car on a track, he physically has to move his car all the way around the track. He will not push and let go of the vehicle. He still is unable to do a back and forth tossing of a ball, kick of a ball, or any other type of back and forth play. He is nearly four and still remains playing with one toy for 30 seconds before moving to the next. He does not stay on task. In theory, he could play with cars for hours if that involved just removing cars from a box and staring at them one by one. In therapy and in those type of structured settings, Roger does perform the way they want him to, as a “typical” toddler. He does not generalize his skills — typical trait of autism.
He wants to have play dates and likes the idea of meeting new friends at the playground or McDonald’s. Hee usually attracts younger kids since he plays more like they do. However, he usually likes to follow the older children who take notice that he is “different” and usually ask me why he is doing what he is doing or saying what he is saying. I am glad he does not understand the questioning right now because making friends is so much fun for him. He goes up to them, unusually close of course, waves and screams hi at them until they respond. He introduces himself and tells them it is nice to meet them, even if he attends school with them daily. Most parents and therapists find this all very endearing and it is, especially now that he is 3. It is obvious that this is echolalia and probably will not be seen as so cute at 10, 14,16, etc. We will continue having play dates, going to playgrounds, attending social skills playgroups, etc. As long as he is happy doing so, I am happy bringing him wherever I can!