Playing, Laughing and Learning with Children on the Autism Spectrum: A Practical Resource of Play Ideas for Parents and Carers

Julia Moor
2002
Autism (ASD), Play, Learn, Children, Parents

When our son was diagnosed with an autistic spectrum disorder at the age of two and a half, like thousands of parents before us we roller-coasted through the typical emotional responses: dismay, grief, fear for our future, but finally relief. We conclusively had a name for this condition that was filling our little boy’s life with distress, impossible, repetitive and meaningless routines and such a reluctance to respond to us that we were sure he was deaf.

At the age of two, the world and people around Robin were mainly there to be avoided. His focus was only on ‘parts’ with no motivation to seek out the meaning of the ‘whole’: wheels on cars; strings on pull-along toys; lids on containers. Direct intervention, overly enthusiastic voices and physical encouragement to ‘play properly’ were met with hysterical screaming.

When we were given the diagnosis, upsetting as it was, it felt like we’d been given a map to not quite get out of the maze but at least to understand where we were in it. ...