Saturday, May 30, 2009
Beans and Rice
My 7 1/2 yr old son wants me to go out tonight and buy some beans and rice. Not to eat, but to play with. When he was as young as 28 months, we used to buy beans and rice in bulk as a sensory integration activity. Whaaah? Yes, we'd pour them in a box or container and he would squeeze the beans and/or rice to kind of wake up his sensory input abilities.
We'd lay out a plastic mat, then the container, then add the beans and he'd sometimes sit right in the container. Often we'd bury little dinosaurs under the beans to motivate him to dig around and find them, thus creating some fun for him, too. We've had to do these kinds of activities with our son since he was under two years old. While at the time, no diagnosis of Autism was given, we still had the more generic blanket of Sensory Integration Disorder. S.I.D. covers a lot of ground, and of course, shouldn't be confused with SIDS.
He's come so far, we've long moved on from our 'Bean Work.' But sometimes something will set us off to revisit our old 'friends.' Today, after a solid morning of Adaptive Gymnastics and later ball play with the good folks at Leaps n Boundz in Play Vista, CA, I took my son and daughter to the local fruit store. There we sample almost anything not nailed down while still making enough purchases to avoid any manager's Evil Eye. In one row, they had boxes of nuts: Walnuts, Brazilian nuts, Pecans in the shell, etc. And a couple big scoopers. Granted, M. has been on an excavation kick since watching the Big Machines video. But the scoops and the hard nuts mesmerized him (daughter liked it, too, but she's partial to almost anything her older brother is). This helped me get some shopping done, keeping them ocupado. For the rest of the day, however, M. keeps asking about wanting to work with beans. He's always been sentimental, and part of it could be the attraction to old routines and patterns. (That's pretty important on the Spectrum). So tonight, after finding nothing that would really fill the bill for him to do something sensorially this way, I mentioned maybe I could go to the 24 hour grocery store.
If I do this, I will still get the Evil Eye. But this will be from my wife who doesn't want or need any further messes in the house. Yes, it would be messy. Yet, if it gives him comfort and helps him, this is just the kind of messy we've been working with since almost the beginning of his life. I'll stretch my legs soon, and expect to pop out to Ralph's to see about their bulk.