Our Wee Magpie.
Andy has a keen eye for objects that he wants to explore and examine. This sensory driven behaviour also reflects his mischievous side and allows him to be a wee boy too. He often understands that some things he is not meant to touch or take away but of course this does not always stop him. Shiny, flappy, textured objects often prove irresistible to Andy. Recent favourites have included a toy stethoscope, watches, make up, clocks, pencils, ribbons, my glasses, kitchen implements- garlic crusher, serving spoons, tongs, ladle, wooden spoons, bath plugs, chains, necklaces have all been gathered and taken away for close examination. The police cap with its shiny crest badge and checkered band has proven to be a great source of stimulation for him also.
Last night I left some paper work at our dining table and when Andy came in to the room he was drawn immediately to the shiny, silver pen I had also left. When I walked in behind him Andy had the pen in his hand and was beginning a thorough examination of it by tapping it on the table. He saw me and made off laughing waving the pen in the air. I then chased him around the table with him howling with laughter. This represented an opportunity for meaningful social interaction with Andy and he engaged with great eye contact and verbalisations as well as much happiness. The chase progressed upstairs with great hilarity as I almost caught him on the stairs. He then hid under the quilt on his bed giggling. I became “the big lion” looking for Andy in the jungle- a game he always enjoys. He displays such happiness from a simple source and has the most beautiful smile and laugh. I eventually got my pen back when he went for his bath and the water flowing from the tap provided his next sensory distraction. Using Andy’s sensory seeking behaviour to engage and interact with him is a very natural way to relate to him on his terms. Whether it is for deep pressure squeezes, cuddles and tickles or introducing an object he will find interesting it often allows meaningful and useful input. It can motivate and energise him and it can redirect him when he is becoming upset. It can give him the space and mechanism to have therapeutic down time, for example on his swing in the garden or bouncing on the bed or trampoline. Knowledge of a child with autism’s sensory profile can be a great tool to have at your disposal.
Our Wee Magpie.