Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Working in the Zone
I am reading Awakening Children's Minds. It is a fabulous book and is giving me 'permission' to work with Andrew where he is at developmentally. You have to 'get past' the age labels in the book and just look at the progression when you have a child who is 'behind." It is explaining a lot to me. Several years ago, I bought a ton of board games because Andrew was the age on the box. As I am reading the book I am discovering how you need to establish imaginary play well before you can 'rule play.' Many times therapies will try to teach rules and that can indeed be done but the child will not be as actively involved in the game as if you waited until they are ready. They need to 'play with rules' through imaginary play and then are comfortable playing by the rules. So Andrew is clearly moving toward games thought imaginary play.
When Andrew was about two years old we received two batches of Brio and Thomas train tracks that probably are worth several hundred dollars. All boys love trains..right? Well, not exactly. There they sat in the box year after year. We'd get them out to play with them a time or two and back they would go. They are in plain site so we have easy access to them. Andrew is well into pretend play. He builds cities out of blocks, lines up figurines to be in a parade (vs. just lining them up,) and then acts out elaborate scenes. I decided to try to incorporate the trains tonight and build a track together.
How did it go?
I started it as a guided participation / regulatory exercise where I would hand him a piece and he would put it in and then ideally we would switch roles. I should have thought through things a bit better; this is the first time we were doing this exercise and to end on MY terms I should have stuck to maybe 3 pieces of track. He took over and as I write this is designing his own track. I walked away at one point and pouted (loudly) at which point he said, "I didn't mean to hurt your feelings. I just want to do it my way." He did just call me in to play on his "Andrew Express" LOL! We still struggle w/ the m/a relationship. I think all folks do at some level. If they don't then perhaps you just have a robot. He is however clearly in imaginary play. We do that together at other times- but it is nice also that he is developing the ability to play by himself nicely as well.
In any event, it is thrilling to see the progress the imagination and simply to see God at work.