It’s been such a roller coaster ride at the playground!
Amor has a habit of grabbing scooters and other toys from anybody, complete with a loud “MINE!” Early on, 3 girls, about her age seemed like they were ganging up on her saying, “She (Amor) just grabs. I told her ‘no’ so many times and she keeps grabbing. Doesn’t she understand what ‘no’ means?” It could have broken my heart seeing kids unable to understand that Amor had delays and sensory issues.
For a while I stood watching, not knowing what to do. I put on my thinking cap, trying to recall Son-Rise Program® techniques and how on earth I was going to apply them at the playground with so many kids. Luckily a boy came over and offered his scooter. I went over and told him I appreciated his act of kindness. I explained further that Amor and her twin brother were born premature, as a result, their brains did not develop as well as typical kids. She is still learning to use the right words. I told him that when he did something so kind, it was a BIG help for Amor. When people are kind towards her, she will learn to be kind too. Kids learn easily but Amor needs more help. We have to keep trying. By the time I ended my explanation, the 3 girls were listening in and got the idea.
Next time Amor grabbed, I would tell the kids that that was an opportunity for them to help Amor use better words. So they waited and listened attentively for Amor to say, “Can I borrow your scooter.” And lent their scooters (or toys or balls) as soon as this magic words came out. All ended well and I was happy with the outcome of those first few playground trips. What could be more complicated than that?
The playground on a Sunday afternoon! Peak hours! This time there wasn’t just 3 girls, there were 3 sets of 3 girls, probably more. While some were ready to forge partnerships and help Amor use her words, some have never met her before. Some where too young and not ready to lend Amor anything. Some just turned away as soon as they saw Amor coming. There were just too many kids. And I was just too tired to keep trying. I was glad to get back home after that playground trip!
Today is one of those better days. Again those 3 little girls came running towards me, “She (Amor) took my scooter!” I asked if Amor used the right words. The youngest replied, “She said ‘Can I have please?’ ” LOL! I said, “Yey! She used the word ‘please’! Now we can teach her to include ‘borrow'”. Three bright lights lit on top of their heads. Next, I saw them running towards Amor then running back with Amor (can I just say, seeing my daughter actually being included in a game by neurotypical kids is so breathtaking). They led her to a surprise…a scooter! Amor said, “Can I BORROW please?” With 3 big smiles on their faces they handed it to her :-). I told them they were so fantastic, they did it! They helped Amor use her words! I’m sure that praise will inspire them to keep helping Amor.
Then comes little missy saying, “But she still doesn’t know how to return it properly. She just throws it on the ground.” I reply, “Hey, that could be your next mission! What do you think you can do to help Amor learn to give back toys nicely?” Sure enough one of them makes a plan based on how she deals with her younger brother, puts the plan in action and viola, Amor returns the scooter ever so nicely! Now that was a good day at the playground!
In the photo, Amor and a ball she grabbed from a kid at the playground 🙂