My boy is a little superstar, he’s gorgeous and funny, sometimes a pain in the bum but he’s perfect, and he also has autism.Archie has a lot of developmental and sensory issues. He really struggles with certain sounds and has to wear ear defenders at school to block out the noise of other children. It’s even worse when he spots a baby. A baby crying has such an effect on Archie, he’s absolutely petrified, it’s like the noise causes him physical pain. Even seeing a cartoon baby puts him on edge, the TV has to be turned off immediately.
He has little interest in playing in the traditional way. He likes to group his toys, line them up, put them in piles and stand back and look at his handy work, clearly feeling proud of himself. But he rarely plays.
He has an amazing team at his special needs school who work really hard to help him engage in play. To interact and imagine, but he still chooses to line and group toys. He loves order and patterns, that’s his thing, so when a toy does come along that even slightly peaks his interest them I’m in, I’m all in!
So what is the solution, how can I help my little man? What can I do as his mummy to support his therapy, to help with his progress?
I got him a doll.
But dolls are for girls and cars are for boy, right? That’s what the packaging says when it displays girls playing with the doll, with a pink box, hearts and flowers, but does it really matter?
Does it really matter if a boys play with dolls? No, not, at, all. Because this doll has been amazing for my BOY, he loves playing with it. Actually playing with it.
I’m sick of all the macho stuff. My boy is obsessed with dinosaurs, cars, trains & diggers. All the typical boy toys but he also loves his doll too.
He loves the ‘functionality’ of the Baby Annabell Brother. That he can feed the baby a bottle or put the dummy in his mouth. It’s given him a curiosity I didn’t think I’d see from him for a long time. He’s actually interested in a toy and what it does rather than where it fits in the pattern or the colour scheme.
He absolutely loves that the doll actually drinks water, you can see the look on his face when the baby starts making suckling noise and moves its mouth. Archie was wowed by it, although he wasn’t very pleased when he moved the bottle before the doll had finished and it started to ‘cry’ as this is one of Archie’s major sensory issues. We did struggle a bit to stop the doll crying but we’re going to be working with his occupational therapist to see how we can incorporate this into his therapy sessions to enable him to be around real babies without it causing him major distress.
Archie’s been showing his doll some love & affection, cuddling and holding his doll. He’s not always gentle, instead trying to poke it’s eyes out or squeeze it’s head but we’re definitely making progress. It’s actually becoming a key part of his therapy. He’s letting me engage with him more and to join in with his play, which is so amazing.
The new Baby Annabell Brother doll wets his nappy or can use the potty but that’s not something we’re really exploring with Archie at the moment as we’re having a hard time trying to convince him to use a potty or toilet but it’s definitely something we’ll be using soon enough once he’s ready.
I never thought a doll would be so good for Archie and can see it being an amazing tool for other children with special needs, both boys and girls. Not only is it a fab toy to play with but it can be used as a learning aid, which is incredible.
So for anyone that thinks a doll is ‘just a girls toy’ then think again. This girls toy is making such a difference to my boy.