Saturday, February 7, 2015


Philip has received many encouraging notes and questions since his post in The Mighty.  Thank you for reading and for your warm support.  Here are two questions from readers regarding play:

Dear Philip,
My son is a lot like you--he loves people. He loves them so much and wants to play with friends. I can see that when his sister has friends over to our house, he wants to do what they're doing, but doesn't know how. So, often, he just paces and flaps on the other side of the room. And, worse, sometimes his sister's friends get annoyed by his behavior and they want to get away from him. 
How can I help him play with new friends? 

Hi Philip, 
My nephew is 8 and has autism. He is currently using RPM with his Mom and therapists. My question for you is this- in your opinion what is the best way to handle the question I receive from my own children (Ages 8 and 6) about why R can't talk and is not able to play with them the way they would like for him to?

Thank you for your help. I wish you and your family all the best.

Take care,


Orlando, FL

Philip writes:

I am telling you about play. Playing is very hard. I cannot move my body well because it doesn't follow my awesome mind's instructions well.  I can move well.  I can run and make my body make all sorts of mischief.  I am active all the time.  But I can't address my body to follow a new motor plan easily or meaningfully.  I have to practice the motor plan over and over. Playing has too many new plans. I play better with a lot of practice. Lots of times stims get in the way too.

I want to play. I love to play games using my mind. I like trivia games but I need a helper. I like to try sports, perhaps soccer. People should play not expecting me to help them win. I hope to play more someday. I sometimes do play sports at Village Glen (an indoor soccer facility). I play soccer. I love it. Purposed action has to be practiced. I am better dribbling and shooting after many weeks.

You can help by assuming new play situations will stress him out. Try to ease stress by pacing the activity to go quickly and we are already familiar with the rules and motor skills. You can be with him to help. I eagerly play with autistic kids easily because they appreciate stims and are my safe friends to be myself. Teach him play skills by playing some more with him.

You can tell kids that we play more with our questioning minds than with toys. We don't take as much pleasure in acting make-believe games. Sports are a lot of coordinating in my uncooperative body but with opportunities to practice, I can try to participate. Mastering play sometimes seems impossible but I want to not miss out on a lot of fun.

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