Mafe Maria: Personal stories by autism parent mentor, Maria Stultz

Hombre Araña

This game used Joaquin’s motivation for physical activity and his recent interest in being called an “Hombre Araña” (tr: spider man). He loves the new props that come with new games, so giving him a costume also helped to build his enthusiasm for the new activity.

I was expecting that he would want to drive or know the addresses to the locations of his missions, and was pleasantly surprised that he never mentioned the idea. There was a lot to take in this game, however, and Joaquin did seek several brief breaks looking out the window, and became interested in talking about (and processing) a few topics that were introduced with the different jobs and felt like temporary diversions from the main activity.

This gave me an opportunity to join him in these short conversations, allowing him the space to process and express his current thoughts, and it also gave me a chance to call him back to our game on green lights and build his motivation to stay in the same activity with my own enthusiasm throughout the whole session.

Besides offering variation to exercise Joaquin’s flexibility, this game also presented a great opportunity to find his edge regarding playful physical interaction. It was interesting to notice that he has become more willing to participate in a chase game, but he won’t sustain it for a very long time (will be interesting to check again when he’s not tired).

I loved to see how much he participated, and also noticed with excitement how he seemed to connect with another person’s story when I had Ernie ask for help and give Joaquin explanations directly.

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