Autism, Imagination, Helping their life move forward

Imagination, essential 8, chapter 11 in Anat Baniel’s book, Kids Beyond Limits

In this chapter, Anat has a great story about Ari,
a young autistic boy who endlessly repeated a certain video.

Without it, he became anxious.
With it, he’d go through it word by word. Totally locked in to a set outpouring of words.

She loosened up his body
and got him in touch, a bit at a time, with how his body could
function as a coordinated whole

then she interrupted the video

first panic.

and he’s keep reciting and get out of synch

then he got how to get back in synch
how he could listen for where the story had resumed
instead of his old let it loose as one spewing habit

then, Anat and he played with imagining the Little Train of the video might do something else

he caught on

he discovered that story was something that could come from his brain

he discovered how to create something new, in his brain,
a new and playful combination of story ideas

finally, they began to stop the video at random places and make up alternatives

he could IMAGINE NOW,
A world that came from his concoction

later, she mentions a study about divergent thinking
the ability to come up with a bunch of ways to use a
clothes pin,
or do something different

98% of children 3-5 ranks as genius

this goes down and down,
until only 2% of adults

we aren’t imagining enough..

imaginary free throws,
imaginary piano practice:

they work

good for you

this is contrary to the work, study, get ahead,
nose to the grindstone approach

and on the other side
we have
saying that
Imagination is everything

Anat mentions a study of hotel room cleaners
one group was told their work helped their health
one groups was told nothing

after 4 weeks the first group had actual improvement in blood pressure, weight and than kind
of thing

the mind is powerful
imagination can harness this


for any child, special needs or not,
the ability to distinguish made up worlds
and the “real” world outside of them,
is part of the game of growing up,
and an opening to endless discovery
and creativity

the key
is to help, to go along with,
to acknowledge your child’s daydreaming

when they space out
give them some time

and then ask and listen into where they
help make it more a game

make up stories together

spend some time co-daydreaming
a fantasy and perhaps filling it in with imaginary music and movement

and then
start some real movement

a great Gestalt exercise
is to let your imagination go to ……
whatever it wants

say a beach on Hawaii

and then use that as a hint:
I need/ want more body relaxation right now
how can I get it


and your child’s dreams
in the sense of their big wish for their life
that’s what love is

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2 Responses to Autism, Imagination, Helping their life move forward

  1. Ian Dabato says:

    With thanks! Valuable information!

  2. Omega_Masha! says:

    Anat s work is wonderful and profound. Kids Beyond Limits does a masterful job of providing help for parents and caregivers help the special child in their lives. This is a book of great wisdom as well as deep appreciation for the great challenges of raising a child who has special needs.

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