Think of it like this: your child is a member of a tiny little club with only himself as a member. The solution isn’t to try to destroy the club. Rather, the solution is to do whatever it takes to get in! -Raun Kaufman
So it is no secret that my favorite thing in the playroom is to join. As Lucas has become more interactive, there has been much less of this. His exclusive activities have mostly become interactive. It used to be that he did these things by himself to the exclusion of those around him, but he now looks at us during these moments as if we are riding a carnival ride together and enjoying the same thrill of the activity. That is why I know joining has been such a pivotal part of this program in relating to my barely reachable son.
Why do I love to join? There are so many reasons but I will give you my favorites.
- Joining shows such a form of respect to the child you are doing this with. For example, when you are in a relationship with someone, or love someone, you naturally enjoy many aspects of this person but aren’t going to enjoy EVERY activity they do. However, part of loving someone is understanding and respecting the things they enjoy. By joining our children, we are showing them that we respect them as a person.
- We show them that we love them by doing the things they are doing. My husband may not enjoy the sappy movie I want to watch, but he loves to see me enjoy it. He shows me he loves me by watching it with me and finding some aspect of enjoyment in it for himself. By showing enjoyment in our joining activities with our children, we are showing them through our actions that we love them.
- Acceptance! One of my favorites. So much of what our children enjoy to do, no one else around them is doing. They are isolated by many by this fact alone. When we join in and enjoy every aspect of what they are doing, we are telling them we accept them.
- When joining in these activities with my son, I come to a deeper level of understanding him. Since he is unable to communicate the way a neurotypical person does, it gives me insight into what he may enjoy. When I join, I begin to allow myself to feel the sensations he may be feeling (see what he is seeing, hear the different sounds or effects he is hearing, etc.). When we are aware of someone’s motivations, we can better relate to them.
- This one is is really a selfish one…lol. It is so therapeutic!! When you concentrate on every sensation an activity gives you, you leave all of the STUFF swirling around in your head and are able to relax. You then allow yourself to let go and go to another place. It’s a very peaceful place to be!
So, I know I am always showing what is considered the bright and shining moments to most on the outside, but I wanted to share one of my favorite activities in the playroom which is joining with my sweet boy. It’s these moments where I feel most connected to him and where I learn so much about both of us. Lucas is pretty interactive in parts of this activity and you will see/hear me celebrate his eye contact,etc. However, I hope you see the beauty in joining!