|Arif doing pull ups for the first time!|
One of Arif's favourite places to go (and his favourite play gym), is We Rock the Spectrum (WRTS) at Ara Damansara. We love going there because they have lots of specialised equipment, which is perfect for children with special needs like Arif. They also have an awesome area for table tasks like drawing and fine motor play.
|Climbing the net for the first time!|
And while we enjoy visiting the gym on our own, I often set up playdates with friends so that Arif can learn to play with others and take turns. Though he has a long way to go in terms of communication and socialising, I have seen many improvements in him.
|Playing with friends from CBR Network, PDK Ara.|
|Arif has also started to mimic his friend's actions.|
Each time we visit, Arif tries and discovers something new, growing braver and stronger. For example, he used to be terrified of swings, due to his vestibular issues. But thanks to the activities we've done at home, at playgroup and WRTS, he's no longer afraid of swinging. In fact, he loves it so much now! It's nice to see him grow more confident, not just in terms of gravitational security, but also body and spatial awareness. When we first started coming to WRTS in July last year, Arif played with only a few things, mainly the trampoline. But on our last visit and play date with my friend Juliana and her son Ibrahim earlier this week, Arif tried many new things. It was also the first time that I saw him mimicking what another child is doing.
|Arif having a swinging good time. He first saw Ibrahim do it and thought he'd give it a try.|
|Arif's getting better at balance beams too!|
Arif has also gotten very good at solving puzzles, even ones he has never seen before. I can still remember the days when he struggled to manipulate puzzle pieces in his hand. He was unable to grasp the pieces firmly and turn them as needed.
|Arif has gotten very good at solving puzzles :)|
As a child on the autism spectrum, Arif likes to line things up in a row. This is often described as rigid behaviour and is said to reflect a lack of imagination and appropriate play. To me, it may not make sense to us, but it makes perfect sense to Arif. So if it makes him happy, I'm happy to let him continue on. Plus, I've seen him get creative with his arrangements and he does engage in some imaginative and pretend play.
|And of course, he loves animal figurines, as well as lining them up.|
|Arif gets creative with lining up the sea creatures.|
|Sorting things out is one of Arif's favourite things to do.|
The other toys at the gym that Arif loves, are the musical instruments and train set. The musical instruments are especially fun when played with friends! I look forward to our next visit to WRTS and wonder what Arif will surprise me with. Hope to see you there!
|A cute three-piece band, led by Aunty Juju. I tried joining in with my triangle :)|
|Arif loves the train set :)|