Most five year olds have a little trouble sharing things with other children.
The Monster, like most children with Autism, is not particularly good about turn-taking. It was a big struggle, when he was two and three, to teach him to signal (mostly sign-language, but building up to the verbal cue accompanying the sign) “my turn” when it came to things he wanted to play with.
We have a lot of toys in our house, so one would think that sharing wouldn’t be that big of an issue on our end – if there’s something he wants to play with and it’s occupied, then you’d think that he could just move to something else. In practice, this usually works just fine. There’s only one thing, though, that’s his and that he has priority on – the iPad.
Over the weekend, my wife held a yard sale. Her sister and her best friend came over, and brought their families, meaning that in the end, we had six kids running around inside the house between the ages of five and one. For much of this, we had the kids pent up in the play room/media room area where we could both keep an eye on them and watch all the pre-game shows for the Sunday football games.
As you can imagine… you really can’t have six kids in a reasonable-sized room with any number of toys without ending up with a conflict. For much of the morning, we were pulling two of the kids apart, keeping them from fighting over any given toys – if one of the boys had something, the other had to have that exact same toy at that exact same moment, irregardless of how many other toys (and again, we have a lot of toys) were available for being played with.
The Monster on the other hand… was quiet and happy.
While the struggling about the toys was going on in the background, the Monster had ensconced himself on the couch with the iPad. There were a few attempts by the two quarreling children to get a turn with the device, each time to be turned aside by an adult pointing out that it was the Monster’s iPad, and that he gets to have the say over who plays with him on it. Given the way the Monster “shares” (which is to say “somewhere between rarely and not-at-all”)… we did not foresee anyone getting to play with the iPad besides him. Hell, he doesn’t really like when R plays with it, and R lives with him.
About an hour or so into all of the kids being over, the Monster’s cousin Z climbed onto the couch beside him. No asking if he could play with the iPad… but rather just to watch the Monster playing whatever puzzle game he was playing. Within a little bit, he and the Monster were snuggled in while the Monster played… and then a little while later, when I glanced over, the Monster seemed to actually be content to let Z poke at the screen now and again, not complaining one bit when Z made moves in his game for him.
I don’t know that I’d call it “sharing” as much as “tolerating another child playing along”…. but it seems to suit him just fine.