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We once worked with two 6 year old boys at the same time. They had very different personalities and stages of development, but they both had one thing in common: they were attached to certain objects.
One of the boys held an object all day, either 4 magnetic letters, or 2 chew toys or an L shaped block of legos. The other boy wore an orange pumpkin hat all day. Another boy with Autism we worked with many years ago held a packet of instant noodles by pushing his pinky finger against the palm of his hand all day. As he held on to this packet he managed to build towers, maneuver his favorite figurines and play games of chase, never for one moment putting down this packet of instant noodles. Quite a tricky task.
Suggestions For Dealing With Holding Habits
What we suggest you do if your child wants to hold onto an object all day or wear a particular piece of clothing, such as a hat, belt, shoes, scarf – Join, by wearing a hat, or holding an object as similar as possible to the one they are holding. Hold the object or keep the hat on as you play games and do different activities with them. Do it for as long as they do.
This communicates to our children that we acknowledge that the holding of an object or the wearing of a hat is important to them. By doing the same we are telling them that we respect this part of them. That we are not so different from them that we, too, enjoy holding objects. It is our experience that this joining inspires our children to want to connect and play with us more.
Don’t you want to play with someone who likes the same things as you? Enjoy joining your children in this way.