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Claudia arrived at Lekotek when she was 20 months old. Her parents told the staff that the biggest challenge was to find ways to engage the little girl with autism and encourage her to move.
The staff brought out a low-tech, hand-made carousel of mirrors, colored plastic and bells. Her parents were thrilled to see Claudia reach out and explore the toy. Suddenly the baby who didn’t like to move began to crawl towards it.
Lekotek provided adaptive toys with activation switches, allowing Claudia to experience toys independently. They also gave her family resources that they had not been able to afford.
Now four-year-old Claudia continues to work on sensory issues and motor planning at Lekotek. Her family incorporates play activities taught there to help her achieve her therapeutic goals.
When Claudia's exploration of toys was by swiping just ended up frustating her by knocking the toys away, the play specialist presented an adaptive barn with animals accessorized with Velcro so the pieces could not easily be lost. Her parents incorporated the same Velcro technique at home with Claudia's tea set.
Claudia loves her time at Lekotek. Playing with the slime and other toys seems like fun to her, but her therapists and family know that she’s learning important skills and overcoming her sensory fear of objects.
As Claudia’s mother explained: “It is difficult enough being the parent of a typically developing child, let alone a child with special needs. It is too easy to become wrapped up in doctor's visits, therapies, and so on. Lekotek reminds us to step back, get on eye level with your child, follow their lead, smile and just play!”
Photo of Claudia courtesy of Lekotek. GreaterGood.org’s support of Lekotek’s programs to provide play therapy for families who cannot afford it is made possible by visitors to The Autism Site.