AT HOME WITH
Those of us who have young kids understand the trials and tribulations that come with storing toys in our homes. We can put them in the child’s room, but it increases the likelihood of them playing with the gadgets and stuffed animals throughout the night. Some of us surrender to the toys, and they are scattered in different locations throughout our homes. Others create a specific place that defines where play and social engagement with toys can occur. Many call this “The Playroom”.
Give me a show of hands if you are guilty of the scattered toys (writer scans room and shyly raises her hand). Most of the time it is not intentional, but because we do not possess the time for the constant mindfulness that is required to neatly place the hundreds of toys and their pieces in specific locations. I know from personal experience that I can spend three hours sorting Barbie clothes, doll diapers (yes, those really exist) and Legos while trying to navigate my way through mismatched puzzle pieces only to find the very next day the room is in the same position it was prior to the cleaning frenzy. I would throw my hands in the air and surrender.
In my home, we recently dedicated a space in the basement that we are transforming to allow for the mismatched puzzle pieces and Lego blocks. This space will be available for my children and their neighborhood and school friends to be themselves, play games and create memories without having to worry about whether or not mom is going to give them the “did you really just turn that basket of toys over again” glare.
Playrooms are important because playing is important in a child’s life, especially a child impacted by autism. Children’s growth depends on play and their social development during playtime is a crucial part of how our children learn to manage relationships in the future. So often, our friends diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder, miss these experiences with their friends and siblings due to lack of understanding of the social norms and basic steps lead to success in conversations, greetings, and friendships. Some of my friends impacted with ASD would fill their entire room with only Legos, which can restrict friends from wanting to play, because they don’t share that same interest.
That’s why at CARE we are building not only a physical classroom for our CARE clubs but our own playroom where children impacted by Autism Spectrum Disorders can have that same opportunity that the playroom in my basement provides. A place where social development is nurtured, taught and developed. A place for them to branch out and try new activities. A place where our friends with ASD feel respected, understood and cared for. If you haven’t visited us in CARE, feel free to stop by!