January 24, 2011


Some of the things kids on the autism spectrum may have difficulty with are imitation and pretend play. Imitation is a key component to learning, and lack of pretend play is one of the early signals that a child isn't developing as he should. Moe does very little imitation and no pretend play.

But recently, Moe has started to do a little bit of imitation. Every so often, Moe will do something very typical, and I think "Aha! He's got it!" only to never see the behavior again. But I've seen this enough times now that I don't think it is a fluke. Specifically, he's been watching and imitating Jelly.

Jelly loves to talk on her toy phones and carries on conversations that always go like this: "Hello...hi...gibberishgibberishgibberish...bye." It's adorable and of course she gets a lot of attention for this cute show. So the other day, I tried to involve Moe and handed him one of our toy phones. He put it right to his ear and babbled a little. It lasted maybe a second, but he's now done it four or five times that I've seen. I don't think this is pretend play, but I do think he's imitating Jelly. If you have a spectrum kid you know this is hugely exciting!

Of course now I'm trying to get him to talk on the phone all the time. Yesterday, I took out one of the play phones that really looks like a toy, rather than some of the more realistic looking ones. I put it to my ear and said "hello?" Moe thought that was the funniest thing and got a serious case of the giggles. Every time I would stop, he would hand me back the phone, I'd do it again, and he'd crack up all over again. It was some really nice interactive play and so great to hear his joyful laugh.

These may not be major milestones, each of these steps get us closer to our goals. I'm learning to celebrate all of Moe's achievements, however big or small.

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  1. i so relate to this! My son (age 4) has been surprising me lately too by responding to questions appropriately and on the first asking! For me, this is exciting and happened 3x yesterday (with no repeat performance but during a cold). Mine does not pretend play either but picks up the real phone says hello and then drops it on the floor somewhere until the horrible phone off the hook ring lets me know!

  2. Yaaay, it is so much fun to see this. My fella has started doing it recently, but it was a long slooooow build up. Well done, enjoy :) Jen

  3. As well as you should celebrate them. Even the smallest milestones are building blocks to the big ones! Congrats, Moe!

  4. What great news! What may seem like something small is actually huge, especially for parents with a child on the spectrum. It seems like it takes forever for the small milestone to happen, but when it does - woohoo!! So very happy for you and Moe. :)

  5. Pretend phone talking was one of our first huge pretend play milestones too. I was crying and excited, something people with NT kids just wouldn't get. And then 2 years later I again cried when my little one started doing it, mostly because I thought he wasn't on the spectrum and him doing that so early on almost solidified it.

  6. Yay!!! This is a big deal! M. started doing this recently too, with the phone, and it was so exciting I had to call my mom. Congratulations to Moe! :-)


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