It's bath time for my 14 year old autistic son. The teen who has motor planning issues and low muscle tone. He needs assistance, although I am slowly encouraging him to become more independent.
The soaping and washing is a bit of a chore, as is the shampooing of his hair. It is all pretty standard stuff and rather boring!
A while back we discovered a way of interacting with each other in a meaningful and fun manner. Hello to an old favorite nursery rhyme. Goodbye to drudgery and boredom. Hello laughter, engagement, joint attention and experience sharing.
Me: Singing loudly and merrily.
"The wheels on the bus go round and round"
I stop and wait for my son to respond
Him: Smiling, he makes the sign for "Dad"
Me: "The wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round. Dad on the bus goes......"
I stop and wait for my son to respond.
Him: Has a little think for 20 seconds. "Oh, no!" (he speaks!)
Me: "Dad on the bus goes "Oh, no. Oh no" (singing off key!)
Him: Peels of laughter.
We carry on in this manner. Me providing the opportunity for my son to participate in the nursery rhyme. Him gleefully choosing people, animals and objects to be on the bus; then choosing the noises and words that they are using.
Our rhyme is never the same.
The babies on the bus go wah wah wah
The dogs on the bus go woof woof woof
The driver on the bus says move along please
The horse on the bus goes neigh neigh neigh
The mum on the bus goes ssh ssh ssh
The car on the bus goes beep beep beep
Tom on the bus says go Nick, go Nick
........ and the list goes on...
We pause and wait. We reference each other's facial expression. We read the body language being used. We communicate. We talk. We laugh.
We have an amazing connection.
14 years of age and still interested in nursery rhymes.
Pah! Who cares? I don't.
Di blogs about autism, teenagers and RDI over at The Bright Side of Life.