One of the goals I have for a child I am working with who has autism, is that he tell two things about his school day, when he comes home. We have tried several approaches to help him remember as well as verbalize what he did. Research shows that if you send something concrete home that relates to their day, you are more likely to have him tell about what he did that day–maybe a leaf if they made leaf prints, or a rock if they talked about rocks. I gave that suggestion to the preschool teachers. They also sent notes home about their activities to prompt our discussions. Still, it was very difficult to get him to share his day.
Last week, I was beginning my therapy session when Mom told of a breakthrough. Her son loves sea animals and recently got a stuffed seal from a visit to the aquarium. When he came home from school and re-attached with his seal, Mom asked the seal what he did at school that day. Her son proceeded to tell about several activities from class that morning! In the same way, his pretend play has taken off as he uses a shark or dolphin to act out pretend sequences since that is his preferred toy these days. At times, we have to restrict the use of the shark or dolphin if he is getting too “stuck” on that toy, but there are ways to use his intense interest on a subject to his advantage.