Sunday, July 21, 2013

Wistful Vista

We have a sleepover play date in progress for James' big sister. It seems to be a success, with much giggling, experiments with makeovers, and zany turns of speech. Not a whole lot of sleeping took place last night, but there was a protracted bedtime reading session that covered both Harry Potter and Junie B. Jones (Harry's 5th year at Hogwart's is not very helpful reading when battling homesickness, just so you know).

Pop quiz: name this playful duo.
Both girls have been cheerful to James, and he's enjoyed having another kid in the household mix. I do notice, though, that he has been watching the proceedings with a wistful eye. He would dearly love to have a play date of his own. Even though James is a friendly, playful kid, I have had a very hard time getting play dates for him. Many times, parents will say okay and then never return my calls. When I can connect with other parents, our busy schedules often compete, and play dates fizzle.

If James is with other kids, he gets very excited, but does not know what to do. His speech delays and difficulties makes it hard for his excited bursts of speech to be understood -- even I have to guess what he means at times. We are working on bike riding skills. He's got the turn-taking down, but getting him to focus and stay with a game is really difficult. Just a couple of weeks ago, his summer camp counselors tried to get him active in a game of line tag, but he just wanted to watch.

I've tried playing with James, to help model what playing with someone is like and see where he might get "stuck." He can be a lot of fun, especially with hand puppets, singing, and dancing. At one time he could play Red Light/Green Light for several minutes. We had less success with T-ball, badminton, and basketball/soccer. Play dates at a playground tend to work. I've read articles and talked with therapists -- helping our spectrum kids have successful play dates is a moving target.

Back to this weekend -- I had to make a quick trip to the store, and asked James if he wanted to come along; he did. On the way to the store, he asked if he could see his friend across town, and stop by his house. Knowing this family pretty well, I said okay, but I'd have to call first. Luckily, it all worked out, and we were welcome drop-in visitors. James got to see his friend, visit with people he liked, and play with their house full of kids. It was nice to see him taking turns on the trampoline and watch one kid encourage him through the rules of their made-up game. Then James started trying to sit on his head and ate a dandelion. My cue for us to go. Heavenly days!

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