Friday, October 17, 2008

The Victory of Defeat: Losing a game as a developmental milestone

Last Saturday Sayer and I met up with two other boys on the autism spectrum and their parents at Big Al's to bowl. The bumpers went up and they played. Sayer was most interested in seeing the ball come up the shoot after each play, yet he was the front-runner throughout the game.

On the other hand, his buddy "J" is what his mom calls "A sore winner and a sore loser, both." I had never seen his sore loser side, but as he was in last place he got very upset. Sayer ended up winning the game but wasn't interested in the score, especially as the next step in the outing was to visit the arcade and get overstimulated by the lights, sounds and crowds (goody!). Luckily, the arcade cheered "J" up,too, although he also did a good job of calming himself down.

Given Sayer's limited concept of competition, then, I was surprised and pleased last night when, for the first time, I had to "fake it" when playing a game with him. We were playing "Mr.Mouth" and flipping small plastic flies into Mr. Mouth as he spun around. I got the hang of it before Sayer did and he actually got frustrated that he couldn't get any in. In the past, he has not really cared on way or another.

So, I faked it and deliberately missed most of my shots. Parents of typically developing kids are cautioned about doing this but for us it was a GOOD thing that Sayer noticed my flipping finesse and compared it with his own. I gave him some tips on how not to "over-flip" and he eventually got in. The look of pride and satisfaction as he got those discs in was priceless!


Susan said...

Experts are so quick to tell us the 'right' and 'wrong' way to do everything, but who knows our kids better, than ourselves? Great post!

Congratulations to Sayer for winning the bowling, too--it sounds like it was fun.

Carol said...

Ah, the "experts." I think by now we've about had enough of some of them!

Anonymous said...

That's so awesome for Sayer! High five!