Most of our children go through obsessions. When I was in school I remember how much I loved "M.U.S.C.L.E." men (remember those little pink guys that came in a trash can if you bought the 10 pack). I used to take those little guys with me on the bus and make them wrestle with my buddies on our homemade wrestling rings.
We grow out of them, or, in some instances, they are taken away from us. Jack used to be obsessed with the Incredible Hulk (you can read a fascinating blog about that here). But it went too far and we had to take it away from him.
His newest obsession is Dominoes. He caught a few YouTube videos of elaborate domino rallies and has been hooked ever since. So our house has been recently inundated with domino rallies. He's learned a few "tricks" (collapsing towers, direction spinners, etc) and the layouts are pretty freakin' sweet.
Let's talk about the therapeutic value of dominoes:
They are a preferred activity
If Jack wants domino time, he must complete all his required tasks.
They are delicate
The OTs love this one. Setting up dominoes requires both care and patience. Virtues we work on every day. This is a kid with a pretty moderate SPD... I never thought I would hear him telling ME to be quiet and sit still so as to not topple the dominoes.
They have funny dots on them
And little does Jack know that those funny little dots and those funny little questions daddy asks about them are keeping your math skills at grade level. Yes!
Your peers are not as good at dominoes as you are
This makes Jack an expert. I've seen it with my own eyes. A classmate that has never connected to you comes over daily and starts conversations. "What are you doing"? and, most importantly, you have the confidence to answer.
Dominoes do not have misunderstood feelings
The Hulk dealt with anger and rage. You deal with anger and rage. I deal with anger and rage. Your teacher deals with anger and rage. Even the President deals with anger and rage. There is a beauty in the simplicity of your only duty being standing up, or falling down.
Which brings me to the metaphor of this post.
Dominoes have no social expectations. Their sole duty is to lean on another domino. Domino rallies can be complicated, interpretive, complex, and beautiful.
And you are all those things.
Dominoes act on one scientific principle - momentum - and when they fall, they are simply picked up for something newer and better.
This afternoon, Jack will be presenting a lesson to his classroom about his dominoes (if he completes all of his tasks). Jack... in front of a classroom of his peers answering questions. I sincerely thank his teacher for this opportunity. It's refreshing and inspiring seeing teachers allowing valuable class time to inspire one. To allow for my boy to be the one that others want to learn from. To empower inclusion to him.