Are you familiar with the Silly Bandz craze?
In our home, the obsession has diminished, but I have a feeling the fad will begin again after school starts up. Even though I think they are ridiculous, I am jealous of the person who thought up these things. What do I know?
I admit, it is hard to even imagine where the connection to Autism and Silly Bandz could possibly be. I assure you, I was just as confused until my son came walking in the door last year with a couple of rubber banded animals around his wrist. They were given to him by a little girl admirer from his class. It was really sweet. The thing is, my son is autistic and has a rigidity about textures. His clothes are always examined for any tags, threads, or scratchy feeling. The fact that he will adorn 20 rubber bands in multiple shapes and colors, travelling up his wrist and arm is short of miraculous!
I am perplexed by, not only his tolerance for the Silly Bandz around his wrist, but his extreme interest in buying more and more and more of them. I am learning that my son is acutely aware of what his typical peers are interested in. Additionally, it is this awareness that seems to be a motivator in trumping his natural behaviors. In this case, resistance to certain textures. He wants to be part of the group and do what everyone is doing. I'm thrilled that he can have such focus when he wants or needs to. Though this is not an actual research study, in which there are two groups of children receiving either a trial intervention method or a placebo, it confirms the benefit of mainstream classrooms and the effects of socializing with typical peers. At least for me it does.
Aside from the acknowledgment that he is trying to conform to the group, I will go one step further and venture a thought that the Silly Bandz are helping my son's sensory system. While the teachers limit the bracelets from the class because of distraction, for my son, the bracelets become an item to "play or fidgit" with during rug or work time. This provides the input he needs to concentrate. Who would have thought? Not me. I don't know much about pressure points, but I think the wrist is one area that can help calm a person. I wonder, could the Silly Bandz provide such a benefit?
I must applaud the Silly Bandz company for taking a random thought, manufacturing the product, and building a following of elementary children. Merchandising the product at the checkout lines are a complete thorn in every parents side, still I must thank them for giving my child an outlet to be like his typical peers. For me, you are as good as therapy.