Hey guys and gals-
Some of you know I am the proud parent of three, soon to be four (in june). My youngest (currently) is PDD NOS on the Autism spectrum. He has an official diagnosis and we luckily have a host of therapists who have helped him go from non-communicative to now making simple sentences and starting to learn how to socialize.
Through this journey of Autism I have noticed something with my son. Yo-yos calm him down and focus him in crowded situations. I always have at least two throws on me at all times (one modified and one wing-shape) and whenever he starts to flip out at the supermarket or at a department store or something like that- all I have to do is hand him the modified looper and he is instantly happy and calm.
Now I know your thinking “of course, he’s autistic and the yo-yo spins- he probably zones out on the spinning…” Not the case- what he almost always does is he tries to copy my string tricks with it. It’s like he’s trying to be like Daddy- which I’m told is unusual for Autism.
At home he always asks for a yo-yo if he sees me or my oldest boy doing anything with a yo-yo and he joins us. A social interaction- instead of playing off in a corner by himself (which is common with autism).
In speaking with a couple of other Yo-Dads of autistic kids on the forum I am starting to se a trend- It seems Yo-Yo’s are beneficial to the child. Whether it be an older child developing hand-eye coordination and getting a feeling of success and self-worth learning a new trick or the youngest child who enjoys learning a new activity with a loved one or merely the pleasure of watching something go flying through the air- Yo-yos are helping.
So now I reach out to you- the Yo-yo/Spin Top/Skill Toy community- please share with me any and all stories or anecdotes or even ideas you have dealing with not just Autism, but any disability or learning disorder.
I have a unique opportunity in my career- I am a Martial Arts instructor- to work with many Special Needs children on a daily basis outside of their normal schooling and/or therapies. With your stories, and research on my own with the therapists I have for my son, I am hoping to come up with a special traveling “program” that is designed to entertain and build self confidence through motor-skill based toys in conjunction with physical activities and games. An educational and interactive seminar that both parent and child can bring home with them and “play to help”.
I am not asking for any help aside from your stories- I’m not doing this to make a buck. I’m doing it for my son. His name is Eli. I plan on calling the program “Eli Hops- Playing to Help”.
Thanks in advance for your help. I look forward to your stories.