Tuesday was a lovely day spent at a friends house – 6 children between us ranging 7 through 13.
We arrived to the regular scene of an expertly constructed Thomas Tank Engine and Friends Wooden Brio track stretching across the living room floor with one of our friends, A (10) in the middle sat at control central immersed in his special interest.
If you want to see the serious business of play and learning in action then you really should see the focus A is able to dedicate to his chosen passion. If you listen closely a whole movie script is being role played out whilst the trains are carefully or not so carefully, depending on the movie, are manoeuvred around the track. Some times he has one eye on the track and another on his Tablet watching You Tube videos, all Thomas themed whether that be cartoons or tutorials. Painting Trains has come from this interest too.
If you’re in the way of play then without any hesitation, A will just get closer and closer, gradually nudging you out of the way until if necessary he will sit on your lap to ensure that his play can continue. At 10 this may seem rather odd but quite frankly, I feel honoured that he feels comfortable enough to do that with our family and doesn’t really mind us being in his space. Maybe not everyone would understand the behaviours of an ASD child but I wish they would try.
A (10) is Autistic, he’s totally cool, polite and cheeky all rolled into one and totally lovable. He has become a very dear friend of ours, likewise his Mum and his older brother.
Tuesday saw us sharing Thomas, Playmobil, the family cat and the family bunny in total harmony. I know that some days are not as easy and at times it must be a lonely world but he is far from detached from the world. He is very much in it and to sit alongside him is a pleasure.
I understand very little really about ASD despite having our own experiences albeit at the other end of the spectrum but life really can be challenging for the families with ASD children not to mention how difficult and daunting life can be for the children themselves.
Although we have only known our friend for a couple of years now, we do know that he has come a very long way via an unschooling journey and has achieved great things with the love and dedicated care from his family. I gather that at one stage, communication wasn’t even looking likely, yet he definitely communicates effectively now and is very quick off the mark to say the things he needs to say.
Anyway, A is going to be the proud owner of a very special dog soon that might just make life a little brighter and allow him to access other areas of life that at the moment are not so easy, safe or even possible. We are planning alongside other home educated friends to help with some fund raising towards that expense with an event in August. Every little helps. In the meantime, A’s family have set up a page. The link is here.