Hulk Says Hi! Learning Social Skills

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Have you ever seen the movie Frozen?

You know I have been blessed to see it a thousand times.  It is currently on repeat again in this house.

Declan loves to act out the scenes and sing the songs.  Even more, he loves if someone else duets with him, or acts out the scene with him.

One we act out is the scene when Anna and Elsa are talking on Coronation Day?  Both smell something delicious and say:

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Yesterday I had to take Declan to the store.  And as we rounded the corner at the back of the store, we saw the new Halloween displays being put up.  And Declan states in the same manner as Anna and Elsa,

“Coooooosssss-tuuuuuumessss….”

Yes, Halloween costumes were everywhere.  And regardless of the season, costumes are one of Declan’s favorite things in the whole world.  He wears them all the time.

Declan got Hulk.  He put on the costume and came into character.  “HULK SMASH!” He yelled as he slogged through the parking lot.  “I am going to get you, Ultron!”

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He wore the costume to school, and when he got home from school, he wore it to play with some other kids in the neighborhood.

Seeing Declan in costume brought back a flood of other costume memories.

Here he is on the first day of school as Spiderman in 2015 and on the first day of school as Thor in 2016:

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Going to the zoo:

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Going to some of his brother’s sporting events:

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A trip to a sensory friendly film and another day at school:

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The costumes are great.  Besides being a lot of fun for him, they help him with one thing in particular:

Social Learning

I have told you before that a relationship with Declan can be a lot like the movie 50 First Dates.  You might leave an interaction with Declan as the best of friends only to find the next time you meet up with him he may cower, scream or hide.  He has left the comfort of your last social interaction and has to start over.

When Declan puts on a costume he assumes the character of the costume he is wearing.  He becomes Spiderman, Captain America or Hulk and he engages with others.  The costumes help Declan socialize.

A stranger, a person he has met once before or a person he knows will engage with Spiderman.  Declan does not cower, scream or hide.  Declan will shoot a web and yell, “I’m Spiderman!”  The other person will fall to the ground, give a high-5, smile, laugh, wave – all reactions are very positive.  Declan is not anxious or afraid.  His costume is an inadvertent ice breaker that allows him to feel comfortable in a social situation.  A conversation begins, and interaction takes place and eventually a conversation ends.  Spiderman Declan just engaged in a full social interaction and learned some social cues.  The more social cues he learns as Spiderman, the more he will be able to apply when he is ready as Declan.

As long as Declan wants to dress up (and the costumes fit) it’s fine with me.  I have seen him cower, scream and run when he was afraid of a social interaction.  I see the costumes are helping him to engage socially.  I see a positive effect already when he is engaging with someone new and he is out of character.  The costumes are helping him learn social cues and rules and hopefully well help him feel more comfortable in social situations until Spiderman can become Peter Parker, and Peter Parker can become Declan.

 

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/83346641@N00/14389763077″>Happy Fourth of July 2014!</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a>

 

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4 thoughts on “Hulk Says Hi! Learning Social Skills

  1. My kids loved costumes, too. I always kept an eye out for discounted ones after Halloween. Their friends would come over, they would all pick costumes and play for hours.

    1. That’s awesome! We’ve been blessed with some friends that have turned over the costumes their kids have outgrown. Keeps Declan happily costumed in new looks 🙂

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