Recently I've been spending far too much of my time in a darkened room. No, it's not due to a migraine or a hangover or even an overdose of knitting! It's all due to Toby's love of a game.
It came about by accident really. Toby has bounced on our bed since he was old enough to stand (it's a wonder that the springs haven't completely gone) and one night back in winter he decided to do it in the dark. He (like many autistic children) is stimulated by watching fast movement and he loves spinning light wands so we've always kept a variety of these in our bedroom along with 3 disco balls and various torches (just incase we wanted a disco in the middle of the night - you know!). Anyway, while he was bouncing in the dark I shone a torch from behind him and projected his shadow onto a flat wall of white painted cupboards and he loved it!
Toby has never really shown much interest in his reflection. I think he might just beginning to realise that it's him in the mirror. Amy on the other hand was posing in front of the mirror from the time she started walking and still can't walk past one without pausing to check how she looks (I know - it'll only get worse!). It does seem though that Toby has made friends with his shadow. Maybe it's something to do with it being a flat shape or that it doesn't look back at him - I'm not really sure but it's magical to see him interracting with it.
He has twigged that when he moves his arm his shadow does too and he's now actually playing with his shadow, wiggling his fingers, running up to it and then away again to see it get smaller and bigger and seemingly understanding that it is him. When I turn off the torch he claps to indicate he wants the torch on again, a clear communication for more (and all intentional communication from Toby is a bonus). Toby has definitely discovered his shadow and that it is 'connected' to him. This awareness is a new thing and brings him more into our world.
We've played this all winter - which is fine when it's dark and cold outside but now the evenings are longer and sunnier it's wearing a little thin (for me at least). So spare a thought for me on the upcoming balmy summer evenings, for while you sit in the early evening sun sipping your chilled glass of wine, I shall be sat in the dark, torch in hand, making my little chap a happy one!