The Same Thing In A Different Place

by beagooddad on August 29, 2007

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One thing I’ve read about autistic children is that they have trouble taking a concrete image or concept and abstracting it into a new area. They might know that the thing sitting in the driveway is a car but not recognize a cartoon picture of one of their books as also being a car.

Pookie is pretty good at applying labels in that kind of manner but we have been waiting for some of those abstract concepts to start showing up in his own creativity.

A few months ago, Pookie decided to start drawing smiley faces. They look exactly the same every time and that is the only thing he draws other than random scribbles. He calls them “Arthurs”

We’ve tried to get him to draw houses and dogs and trees but no luck. It is always a circle for the face and then two eyes, a nose, a mouth, two ears, hair, and a bow tie.

The other day, BeAGoodMom worked on getting him to attach a body to his “Arthurs.” With her verbal only guidance he drew a stick body, two arms, two hands each with five fingers, two legs, two feet each with five toes. He used to draw glasses which is where the Arthur name comes from but he stopped that pretty recently.

So now that is the new way to draw people in our house. They look like this:

arthur body

Then a couple days ago, Pookie took the ice cream shapes from his stackable ice cream and started very deliberately placing them on the floor. Eventually he stood up and said he needed a hat. We dug one up for him and he rushed over to the cones and added them to the area. It ended up looking like this:

ice cream face

In case you are having trouble making out the detail, here is a close up:

ice cream face


See that. That’s an “Arthur” face. Only it is not something he drew. He built it. That’s what I mean when I say creative abstraction.

He seems to be doing a really good job recently of building on everything that we have taught him in the past and using it in new situations which is just too exciting.

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