Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Try This Tuesday: Finding things


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Do any of your kids (esp those with autism) have difficulty finding things they are looking for?

Mine do. I suspect it may be sensory-related, but I don't know for sure. They are very observant about noticing details and things like that, but when they need to isolate and pick out one thing to search for, they really have a hard time. There are so many times they look and look for something, and when I go to help them I practically trip over whatever it was they were looking for (literally sometimes - I found one toy lying on the floor in their doorway, after they'd been searching for several minutes and had apparently stepped over it several times during the search, and it was an average-size toy, not too small). I can give them suggestions for where to look, and I think they do, but somehow they are still prone to miss whatever it was they are looking for.

Case in point - it's been a while since we played hide and seek, but I typically have to hide in pretty obvious places or I will be MIA for a while, waiting for them to find me. One time I actually "hid" on my bed, on top of the blanket, but with a pillow over my face. They came into my room and looked around and I was sure I was caught, but somehow they didn't spot me.

This can make for some frustrating times when they lose things. Especially small things, like DS games. Granted, those games are small, about 1 inch square, so it would be hard for anyone to find a lost one.

This weekend we had just such a search. Cuddlebug nervously admitted that one of his games was missing (we have stressed many, many times that they need to put the games back into their DS bag every time so they don't get lost - those games aren't cheap!). If they lose one, they are grounded from playing any others until they find it (or a reasonable time, if it is not to be found but thankfully only one has ever been truly lost).

I suggested he look in their "treasure box" because that is where I found the last missing item. He told me it wasn't there but he went and searched all over his room and his little brother's room. He came back to report he couldn't find it. I gave him some more suggestions and asked again if he'd checked the treasure box. He went back and looked again, but returned saying it wasn't there. After a couple more return trips (I try to give him a chance to find it on his own first) I offered to help him look. Within about 5 minutes I had found it - in one of the game cases, in the treasure box.

He was so relieved that he gave me five hugs, followed by a "mega hug." That's new, and I wasn't quite prepared for it. He actually jumped up and wrapped his arms and legs around me. I managed to catch him and keep him from falling, but barely. He's a big kid! It reminded me of when he and Bearhug used to climb up on the kitchen counters only to leap off when we walked by. I was always afraid I might not catch them, but I always did (thank goodness). They never doubted that I would (well, that and they were and still are pretty oblivious to any sense of danger). But they were only 2 back then - he's obviously a lot bigger now!

He was so excited that he even added a "bonus hug" (sounds a lot like bonus points from his games, lol). What a sweetie!

So back to my original question - I don't mind helping him and Bearhug find things, but I won't always be there when something gets lost. How do I help teach them better searching skills?







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6 comments:

Julie on June 30, 2009 at 12:23 PM said...

I wish I had an answer for you. I have the same problem with my "two" boys! It's frustrating. I can't wait to see what suggestions you get.

K on June 30, 2009 at 1:47 PM said...

WHt an interesting post
Your boys sound so cute and loving
Visual Spatial processing
Let me know if you are into flooritme and you can look on icdl.com for the transcripts of the radio shows on this topic
Solutions actually were the exact things you are talking about - hide and seek , treasure hunt - play while standing on a raised area "I spy "

Trish on June 30, 2009 at 7:56 PM said...

I have noticed the same problem with my son, and he is also extremely visual and detail oriented. I think one part of the problem is his dependence on me and my fixing problems for him, but I think another part of it is not knowing how to think through something like this.

Maybe if you treat it like a game or a puzzle and even write down some suggestions of how to find things. The ideas could be likely places, or ways of thinking about when and where you last saw the item.

We are still looking for the Ben 10 Omnitrix - have the disks, but not the main piece we need. Hopefully it is somewhere in the house and not gone for good. :(

rhemashope on June 30, 2009 at 8:29 PM said...

Interesting question. Can't say I know the answer, but I was thinking of (more difficult) puzzles, I Spy, etc. Perhaps the stress associated with finding a treasured, meaningful item like a game makes it more difficult to focus? I know I have that problem when I lose my keys. I have to step back, calm down and then search.

The Farmer Files on July 3, 2009 at 11:18 AM said...

Have no answer for you, I have a 4 yo with sensory issues. (Deficit in sensory motor integration) our big thing right now is shoes...they are right where he can see them, but he can't see them!

lonestar on July 4, 2009 at 6:05 PM said...

Thanks so much for the suggestions!

 

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I'm a mom of three boys on the autism spectrum, 11-yr-old identical twins and a 7-yr-old. My husband is a SAHD.

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