I want to BE a firetruck Mommy.” Johnny has always loved firetrucks since he was around two years old. If we were at a playgroup he would zero in on the only firetruck in the whole room. If we were visiting a farm with a big giant sandbox filled with diggers and dump trucks, he would some how find the only fire truck and that’s all he would want to play with. This created some social challenges when other boys would want it too but that’s a post for another time. He has over 10 different fire trucks at home and he has a DVD about “How a firetruck is built at the factory” which he has watched over and over again since he was three years old. When he was three years old we dressed him as a fireman because he smiled at us and pointed at the costume at the store so we figured that’s what he wanted to be. When he was four “ire ire ire…” and pointing led us to believe that’s what he wanted to be again. When he was five and he was now talking in 3-5 word sentences he told us he wanted to be a cowboy. I wrote about it here: http://wp.me/p1KVmo-F6
When Johnny was six he surprised us by telling us “I want to BE a firetruck Mommy and Daddy.” He got the idea from one of his favourite books growing up called Firetruck by Peter Sis. “Matt loves fire trucks, and one morning when he wakes up, he is a fire truck–right down to his hoses, hooks, and ladders!” http://www.amazon.com/Fire-Truck-Board-Book-Peter/dp/0060562595
So Daddy got to work with foam core, coloured duct tape and lots of creative inspiration and made Johnny a firetruck he could wear. Hands down his costume was the most talked about costume at school that year and lots of happy exclamations when he went trick or treating.
So what did Johnny want to be this year? “A police man Mommy” inspired by his Imaginext® Rescue City Centre http://www.fisher-price.com/en_US/brands/imaginext/products/imaginext-rescue-city-center that his Grandma and Grandpa gave him for his 7th birthday. “Calling all cars, calling all cars there is a bank robbery on Centre Avenue.” This toy set lit up his imagination and very quickly he wanted the police car, ambulance and tow truck that came with it so he could do pretend play. Then much to his surprise (and my shock) six police cars were parked all around the bank in our neighbourhood investigating a robbery. That did it he wanted to be a policeman for Halloween.
He has already planned what he wants to be next year. “I’ve been a cowboy and a fireman. This year Mommy I am a policeman but next year I am going to be a police car with a siren.”
Imagination, pretend play and talking about the past, present and future. Who says that an Autistic child can’t learn all of these things?