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

Dazzling Madame Bovary

Last spring I created a game that tied Joaquin’s motivation for shopping with my goal to awaken his brain to perceive and process gestures and other non-verbal communication. In this game Madame Bovary—an old lady who used to be an actress—owns a shop full of goodies, but she doesn’t take any money for her products. She loves theatrical performances, and so instead of money payments, she asks kids to act out the products they want to take with them.

Before today, Kiki had shopped twice at Madame Bovary’s place. He’s never been thrilled to do the acting, but he’s done it and enjoyed his time with Madame (he really likes her and wonders about her personally), and he enjoys my variations for the shop each time he comes to it. So this time, as variations I introduced a theater curtain and some fun musical intro, but more importantly: I had Madame do the acting and Joaquin the guessing.

Considering of subtlety, I wanted to make this easier for him and reduce his experience of challenge for the sole purpose of having him perceive more instances of non-verbal communication in a totally relaxed manner. So imagine my surprise when Joaquin decided to flip roles and become the actor! Spontaneously! By his choice and motivation! And he went on for a looooong time!

Here’s part 1 showing the setup and build up headed to this great miracle. Unknowingly, something I did (or just minimizing the challenge) motivated him enough to go for it and dazzle me (and himself!).

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