One word, well name actually...Breanna!
Many handicap children, especially those with autism or autistic characteristics tend not to join in group activities, they prefer to do their own things, on their own time, in their own way. If you give Breanna a choice of doing anything with us her response is NO and then she will run to grab her iPad to start playing puzzles so she isn't forced to join us. So the last two times that the kids and I have played games, we haven't even asked Breanna to join us and in return she has sat down on her own, gotten what ever pieces she needs for that game on her own and waited for her turn.
The other night Jarom, MyKayla, and I had set up the sorry board and positioned ourselves around one section of the table and while we were grabbing drinks Breanna walks right up to the table, grabs the board (nicely) and pulls it to the opposite end of the table to her seat. She then grabs the box and takes out the last of the pieces and places them on her section of the board. She patiently waits till someone tells her it's her turn and she proceeds to play the game with us and of course she WINS! Usually if we force her to play games with us, once the game is complete she is out of there, but instead she moves her pieces to the start and says "again!" No need to twist our arms, we play again and again! Breanna wins 2 out of 3 games.
Last night we decided to have another game night, so I cooked up two batches of cookies while the kids grabbed a stack full of games. Again we didn't ask or tell Bre to play with us, instead we set up our game Rummikub. We drew our tiles to see who'd go first and were in the process of drawing our hands, when Breanna walked up and yelled "hey" as she grabbed the box and the remaining tile holder and sat down in an empty chair (which wasn't 'her' chair) in order to start playing with us. I moved her closer to me to help her play the game, because lets be honest how do you explain that game to a child who doesn't comprehend much. She grabbed her beginning hand and began placing all her tiles in order 1, 2, 3...as she calls them out loud and then "4 I need a 4, where's 4"...5, "where's 6?" (as she turns a 9 upside down to become a 6), 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13. So by the time she had all her tiles up it was her turn and of course she could play right away. End of the game, MyKayla goes out, Breanna is next and she goes out, I am stuck with 3 points (which we determined I could have gotten rid of, and Jarom goes out. Bre wants to play the game again, but we decide since she can't fully play the game herself we'd chose another game...BINGO.
I've never seen her get so excited, she insisted on cleaning up Rummikub and didn't want any help. Jarom tried to help her pick up all the tiles, in which she hurried and grabbed as many as she could in her hands. She ended up dropping one on the floor and told Jarom to 'pick it up' as she continued to clean up all the others tile. I am considering installing a camera in our house as words can not describe this situation exactly as it occured, needless to say we were all laughing hysterically at the situation.
Okay so on to the next game, we all grabbed our cards, Breanna was so excited to begin playing she grabbed her card, reached into the middle of the table to grab a ton of dots and waited for the first number. Every time I called out a number she repeated it in a slightly higher pitch. In an attempt to record her doing this I set my phone upright on the table where I could easily reach over and start recording. And in all my attempts the second I started recording she toned it down. We ended up playing 3 rounds of Bingo on the last round, a blackout round, we realized we were missing 3 of the numbers and called it a 4-way tie. Breanna won the first round and I the second. The kids and I have realized a pattern that every time Bre plays with us she wins and being a competitive family we aren't sure how much we like this, especially since none of us are helping her win. But in the future I foresee the kids asking her to play more games with her so they can beat her!