Saturday, January 27, 2007

playing ball

I've mentioned on my blog before that both of my sons have been diagnosed in the autism spectrum. Patrick (age 6) has been more severely affected.

Today I was playing around with him and after awhile I decided to try something that hasn't worked so well in the past -- playing ball. I don't know if it was a problem with motor coordination or just getting the idea of the activity that was the problem. But he tended to just get frustrated and walk away.

So today I just took what he gave me. He didn't want to catch the ball at first, but he would sort-of hit it back to me. So I went with that. I'd throw it to him, he'd hit it back, and we just went like that for awhile, laughing together if we missed or dropped it.

And then, slowly, I added more complexity. First, he began to get the idea of catching and then throwing. We practiced that for awhile, and then I tried bouncing the ball to each other. It took him a bit, but then he got the idea and gradually improved his skill in doing so. Then we rolled the ball rather than throwing or bouncing.

I know this may be hopelessly stereotypically "guy" of me, but there's something powerful about being able to play ball with your son. Something archetypal about the activity, to use the Jungian term. It brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it.


Alex said...

Sounds like you had a great time.

Anonymous said...

I think that is amazing. I've been reading your blog for awhile now and the love you have for your sons speaks volumes. I hope he continues to do well.

steve said...


Indeed we did. I loved how his enjoyment of the activity increased as he really "got it," felt more competent.


Thank you for your kind words and for taking the time to comment!

Magdalene6127 said...

Steve, this post brought tears to my eyes. I am so moved by your words about your son, and about how much this means to you.

What a great dad you must be.



Gannet Girl said...

There is something archetypically magnificent about doing anything at all with a child for whom you thought perhaps that door was closed. BTDT.

Play ball!!!!

steve said...


Your compliment is very meaningful to me. Thank you!

Gannet Girl,

I agree completely. I've really been struck by how easily some parents and even professionals "write off" kids with autism. It's sad, but I think a lot of it stems from a sense of incompetence in knowing how to work with them.

By the way, you used an acronym I'm unfamiliar with: BTDT? What is that short for?

Gannet Girl said...

Been there done that. In this instance, not with autism. But with other things. Parenting is not for the faint of heart.