Play is Communication

Play is Communication
Play, Play & Play - we all realise it is so important for all children developing key skills. Particularly my son Edoardo (Edo) who is 6 years old. He is still preverbal with limited understanding. He attends a mainstream school which has an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) base. Edo was diagnosed Autistic at 4 years old.

From day one of Edo’s unofficial diagnosis at the age of 2 years old, PLAY has been our saviour. From the initial talks with paediatricians, to more serious and thorough chats with leading professionals in the SEN (Special Education needs) field, life sounded scary, lonely and a spider web of therapies, information, and complicated wordings. We eventually found our feet. We discovered what worked best for us as a family. Knowing what we wanted from Edo and our expectations of him were crucial.

We realised quickly that even though socially he could be a little destructive and unintentionally un-civil, he craved people. Noises, colours, patterns and other stimulations were a part of him. We decided, from very early on, never to take these away from him, however much it could damage his educational learning through lack of attention.

Edo wanted to make things, destroy them, then remake them. So we let him. We started to see the world in his eyes. By lying down to play with his toys, he wasn’t being lazy, or tired, or weak; he was immersing himself in that toy, bringing the toys to life and making sure he was fully part of the action. It’s funny to look back and remember the emotions running through our minds at the start of the ASD journey with Edo. Everything that wasn’t normal was terrifying, but as Edo grew, and most importantly as we grew as parents to a SEN child, we started to research the best tools for Edo. Play is therapy. So what is out there to allow Edo to express himself, use his talents, communicate with us, and enjoy himself?
 
We hit the jackpot when we found edx education really early on.
Edx has been, and will continue to be, our go to toy brand. The educational side to the brand is one that sits beautifully within our life. The toys are creative, they teach, and most importantly they are colourful and versatile.

Through the Rainbow Pebbles (a huge hit in our household) Edo learned his colours. Every day he would line them up and colour coordinate them so beautifully I was rather jealous of his talent. I would sit there repeating the colours to him over and over again, knowing that he would hear me and that he was with me, even if he was looking the other way. Play was, and is, our therapy. Play made us comfortable, there were no rules or set ways to play so we could be who we are. Slowly and gradually Edo and I started to play together; I was allowed to come in from the side-lines. I had ultimately let him lead our play, allowing him to control our time together.

Our love for the pebbles grew and grew. Edo loved creating towers with them. Next, he added his Maths Linking Cubes into the equation and started to create beautiful patterned ‘train tracks’ (he is obsessed with trains which I believe derives from his passion of lining up and sorting objects) interflowing with little colourful villages around the ‘train stations’ and creating a magical world full of imagination, vivacity, and flair. He started to verbally say his colours, using each word to express himself: ‘green’ and ‘yellow’ he said boldly and loudly. ‘Red’ was whispered, ‘blue’ was said shyly and ‘Black and White’ were said so easily with such clear enunciation, it still gives me butterflies every time he says them.

Play, and most importantly, edx education, saved me. It helped me as a lost mother, thrown into a world of abbreviations, medical appointments and quite frankly a whole new, at that point undesired, world. Play also saved Edo. Creating worlds of colourful pebbles, square lined math linking blocks and more, will always be our starting point to everything and anything communicative. Working together, interacting with one another, and sharing the thrill one can get through a play session is something that I will never take for granted.

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By Erica Loi – @thestarwhisperer 
Erica is writer, marketer and entrepreneur and most importantly mummy to two boys, Lupo 3 years old and Edoardo (Edo) 6 years old. Edo is pre verbal with an autism diagnosis. When her world was turned upside down with Edo’s diagnosis, she decided to research, not only therapies but new and wonderful brands that would bring cheer, learning and imagination to her two little ones. Follow her on @thestarwhisperer for shop small buys and her journey with an asd, pre verbal child.

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