September 23, 2008

I watched two small girls playing on campus today outside the Creamery. While they ate their ice cream, they played a game where every time a bus would come by, they would race to see who could read out the number on the side of it first. If they said it at the same time, there was apparently some sort of “jinx” involved. They did this for quite a while– at least ten minutes.

CATA bus

CATA bus

No grown-up would invent such a game. It is too… frivolous. And in some ways, too obvious.
The thing that I found so fascinating about it was that the rules to this game seemed to spring up spontaneously, out of thin air. One second they were eating ice cream and the next second, “EIGHTY-EIGHT! Jinx!”

What access to metaplay communication do AAC kids have? How do we increase their ability to regulate the flow of play scenarios and games they find themselves in? Especially given the fact that we cannot anticipate the rules of games that occur spontaneously.

2 Responses to “Games”

  1. Pete Says:

    Spontaneous play happens even in adulthood, although more seldom. When I am with my friends and we come to a set of stairs, it only takes one fast motion to start an all out race. There are no rules and the “spoils” are equivalent to “Jinx!”…

    When I see my Uncle Ben, we always shake hands and (since I was a child) I start to squeeze hard. I’m fairly certain that he will always be much stronger than me, but I engage in an impromptu “Mercy.”

    I think a strong distinction here is that in my two cases as well as your young friends, we’re all competing. The threat of being “Jinxed” and therefor socially unacceptable is enough to prompt one to follow the others example, regardless of how obvious or frivolous the activity is.

    Competition is an interesting habit. I compete with my uncle, despite knowing that I cannot win. In the other cases, though, the participants are on fairly equal footing. What happens with two AAC kids of different levels of ability are with one another? Do we only spontaneously compete with those that are our perceived equals?

    I witnessed several different college classrooms for students with limited or no hearing. In some situations there were competitions for the attention of the professor – which resulted in some of the loudest noises I have ever heard from humans. This was not in a *play* environment, but there was certainly some sort of satisfaction in being the loudest – regardless of the intended result (being called upon).

  2. adambowker Says:

    “Do we only spontaneously compete with those that are our perceived equals?”
    This is exactly the sort of comment that I invited you here for.
    In my research, I toss around the term “peer” a lot. But just because I see two children as peers, doesn’t mean that they see each other that way. I will reflect on this.

    re: Ben’s handshake. When I first met Ben and shook his hand it scared the living crap out of me since his hand is about as thick as my bicep. I think my thought process went something like, “Permissiontodateyourdaughter? Pleasedontkillme.”

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