“They’re two they’re four they’re six they’re eight
Shunting trucks and hauling freight
red and green and brown and blue
they’re the really useful crew
All with different roles to play
Round Tidmouth sheds or far away,
Down the hills and round the bends
Thomas and friends”
Once my son Lincoln took off at Chapters. I panicked for a full 3 seconds until I realized that I had nothing to worry about. I knew where he had gone, and I knew he would not leave there unless forced out.
See, in the kids section of Chapters there in an ingenious collection of toys AND the best lure of all, A Thomas the Tank table with engines (not trains, never trains!) available to play with!
There is a constant with kids on the spectrum and his name is THOMAS! I am not sure why, though I have heard theories of many…faces are easy to read, trouble is always part of the equation, engines never really fit in, lots of movement, colours etc.
My son started out Thomas-free but at 4 and a half or so blossomed into a hardcore Thomas fanatic. WE easily have all the trains and I am not even going to think about how much they all cost. I imagine I could have bought him his very own real train.
Thomas rules the DVD, computer, PVR. Thomas books to read, Thomas songs to watch on YOU TUBE if you can believe it.
THEN it stopped. 2,3,6 months went by. My Husband and I never asked why (I loathe Thomas and just hearing that goofy little ditty makes me cringe) Lincoln moved on to Dinosaurs (another ASD fav) and superheroes (3 other brothers make it hard not to jump on the bandwagon atleast short term) and then animals…odd ones.
Then after 8-9 months Thomas free…one day we walk in to see…”WHAT??!!?? Thomas?”
How did this happen?
What caused the relapse??
I’ve asked my son a million times and he never has given me a satisfactory answer so I have concluded a few details by myself.
1) Thomas is a security blanket of sorts. Although I am unable to connect together the “whys” I do know that the reappearance of Thomas often comes with a behavioral change (good or bad and almost always mild)
2) Lincoln never wants to share his Thomas experience. I use to think it was a common like he used to help socialize or make friends. He really does not like to share Thomas. Ask to play, he’ll give you Daisy (a unpopular girl engine) or little percy (not him most favorite engine either) and tell you to hit the road. He has NO interest in playing with anyone when it comes to his Engines.
3) Engine play comes with LOTS of load crashing, er, confusion and delay (as per Sir Topham hat), and chuffing, pulling loads and blowing their stacks. My Autistic son loves to reenact LOTS of crash sequences and they are incredible loud!
4) Story lines are interesting in Thomas. Lincoln from a very young age would regurgitate back huge sections on episodes verbatim and sometimes with re-enact the entire episode.
But, whatever the reason for Thomas resurfacing I am fairly certain there is some shared comfort in this bunch of characters –for speak to any mother with a child on the spectrum and they will likely have a house full of Thomas!