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Subject: My son's first game -he has autism, so this is wonderful! rss

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Carol Carpenter
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I have a LOT of games, so my son has always been playing WITH game pieces but has never really played a game start to end with me. He is 4 years old and has autism. His autism makes it difficult for him to smoothly interact with others, and the concept of taking turns is still kind of unfamiliar. It's also hard for him to see the "big picture" of what the end goal of the game is rather than just focus on the actions of each turn.

He has tried Cranium Cariboo and Poppa's Pizza Pile Up and a few others in a "social skills" class but has needed huge amounts of prompting to even finish the game. I never wanted to push him to play board games at home, because when he feels pressured to learn something, it becomes a chore. So I have had lots of games on the shelf, waiting for him when he shows interest in structured play.

Well, last night, I was going through some of the kids games, and he got interested in this vintage Disney dominoes game. It has pictures of cars, boats, bicycles, trains, etc. instead of numbers. I thought we would just push them around on the table as usual, but then seeing his interest, I'd try to casually see if we could play.

I divided them up and started, and he matched them correctly and waited to take turns and did great and finished the game and understood it all! Then he asked to play again and again! We played 3 games and then I got my husband to join and all 3 of us played another 2 games! Even better was in the middle of one, he said happily, "We're playing a game!"

This was so wonderful to hear because he is speech delayed and does not have a large number of original sentences, so for him to spontaneously say that was...I can't describe how happy it makes me just remembering it. (not to mention it is the first game I have gotten my husband to play in years!)

And it's funny because I always hated dominoes when I was a kid. I thought they were the stupidest thing ever. But now I have a soft spot for them.
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Rachel
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Re: My son's first game -he has autism, so this is wonderful
That does sound wonderful! Thanks for sharing with us.
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Steve G
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My wife works with older autistic children. Part of her work involves teaching those basic game concepts as you described. This is good news!
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Mark Cole
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Carol - You made my day Thanks for sharing!
MArk
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Matt & Laurel
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Re: My son's first game -he has autism, so this is wonderful
That's really great. Thanks for taking the time to share it with us.

Matt
 
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Rob "Bodhi" Wolff
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As a teacher, and a gamer, you just made my week.

Thank you so much for sharing this story!
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Daniel Danzer
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Re: My son's first game -he has autism, so this is wonderful
Thank you for sharing. Actually, you described the whole boardgaming in a nutshell:

A human being.

Intersted by something unknown, but challenging, no matter why.

Playing with it, thus getting into direct contact with other people (this is, why this site is called "Boardgaming unplugged").

Getting more and more into it, catching the mechanisms.

Observing, what the others do.

Expanding the horizon of perception and cognition.

Expressing this experience. And share this with the others. Pure joy.

In fact, this is, how our brain is learning throughout our lifetime. It always does, every second. But better and more with fun and emotions related to the experience of learning.

I would be interested, how this will continue. Please, share again, even if this was the one and only time it happened (unprobable!).

Thanks again!
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Darrell Overton
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Excellent story. You made my day as well!

Thanks,
Darrell
 
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Simon K
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Re: My son's first game -he has autism, so this is wonderful
Wow that is really cool! Really i love the way you didnt push it on him and its all his accomplishment/discovery. hope you're having lots of fun together.
 
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Emivaldo Sousa
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Thanks for sharing. Any hobby that creates this kind of moments can only be a good hobby.
 
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Coen Duckman
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Re: My son's first game -he has autism, so this is wonderful
Quite a moving story, really. Thanks for sharing this with us.
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Dave Bullions
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A wonderful story. Thanks for sharing it with us. Good luck with all your future gaming efforts.
 
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Needle
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Nearly brings a big beefy guy to tears. Well done to him and you guys.
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Samuel Hinz
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Re: My son's first game -he has autism, so this is wonderful
Hey thats really great. i hope this turns out to be the beginning of something really great for your family.
 
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Hans Korting
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This is really great Carol !

It shows us again to appreciate the small things in life, although this one is in fact really great.



Hans
 
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Got two game tables and a microphone
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I'm estatic to hear this worked. Hopefully you can use more visual games in the future (such as "Guess Who?"). I am currently earning my Masters of Elementary Ed., and I'm always happy to hear learning stories.
 
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Joe Gola
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Re: My son's first game -he has autism, so this is wonderful
starspangledgirl wrote:
Even better was in the middle of one, he said happily, "We're playing a game!"

Spontaneous declarative language! Sweet!
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Dumont Claude
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Great touching story... specialy when you have children. Keep up playing, and keep up the good work.thumbsup
 
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Doug Palmer
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I love stories like this one.

Huge thumbs up!!
 
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Matthew Thomas
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Great Story! Its very refreshing to hear a success story.
 
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Mad Scientist Philip von Doomula
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Re: My son's first game -he has autism, so this is wonderful
What a wonderful story.
 
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Barry Goldstein
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Re: My son's first game -he has autism, so this is wonderful
Absolutely amazing.
I am a clinical psychologist, with a fair bit of experience with children with autism.

Yay gaming and all that, but I want to take a moment to say, that these advances in his development (may there be many many more) are really the result of hours and hours of practice, patience and connection on your part. These moments of opening up can really be enormous turning points, in some measure, because they are so encouraging to the parent.

Of course, set backs can follow, but its nice to hear about good parenting.
Don't be surprised if your son takes to some heavy abstract kind of games too. He's a bit young for the cognitive challenge, but I have had a lot of success with games in the "simple to learn, lifetime to master" realm. Down the road, you should give the GIPF games a try.

Anyway, its always nice to hear about an actual miracle, and to hear it from the hand of the person that made it happen.

Thank you for sharing your story,

Barry
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Mark Casiglio
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Re: My son's first game -he has autism, so this is wonderful
That's awesome, awesome, awesome! My son is also autistic, but 18 ... he sometimes plays Ticket to Ride with his brother, uncle and me (although he insists on playing with his hand of route cards open ... and insists on completing each section in order rather than making tactical decisions to complete easier or more strategic links.

It got to where he has begun to show interest in trying other games, now ... and sometimes even accompanies me over my friends house to play games (although he'll hop on the playstation if we're playing something that's just beyond him or doesn't interest him).

Still I've got to believe that boardgames are a great tool for promoting greater, appropriate social interaction.
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Jason Wiebe
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That is awesome to hear! Be encouraged!
J
 
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Randy Cox
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Great success story. All kid learning stories are wonderful, but this one is particularly sweet.
 
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