Ilan, my daughter with Asperger syndrome, is a little girl who can’t speak or communicate.
She’s also the only child in her family to have an autism spectrum disorder, and her family has tried to find ways to help her, but it’s never been easy.
Ilan is autistic and lives with social anxiety and sensory processing difficulties.
She has been in and out of hospital multiple times, because of her social anxiety, and sometimes it’s impossible to get her to sleep.
“She has to go to a different room,” says her mother, Sara.
“I don’t want to have to sleep on the floor.”
Sara and Ilan have a plastic toy box.
It’s not much, but Ilan loves it.
She wants to play with it and she loves the smell.
She loves the colour and the shape of the toy.
She also likes the colour of the plastic.
When she’s not playing with it, she can get lost and lose track of where she’s going.
The toy box is in a small corner of the house.
She always has a playmate in her room and it’s the one place where she can find someone who will watch her, she says.
It helps her to be able to talk and she can make eye contact.
It doesn’t matter how far away Ilan might be, she will always be there.
She doesn’t know how to read or write, and if she is hungry she won’t eat, because it’s too far away.
She gets lost.
The box helps her feel safe, but the box is also a symbol of what’s missing from the world.
“You can’t have a toy box in a home where you are constantly looking for somebody who will protect you,” Sara says.
The idea for Ilan Plastic Memories came from her father, Ilan.
“It’s just like a big stuffed animal,” he says.
“If you can’t take care of it, you will never be safe.”
The toy boxes are placed in a big room where Ilan can sit and play with them.
They are meant to be there when she needs them most.
They help Ilan feel safe.
I was a little nervous about the idea of this, because Ilan doesn’t have many toys.
I thought she might be scared of them, but she’s very excited about them.
It makes me feel happy that they’re there, I said.
I have to look after them, I told her.
The toys are made of silicone.
When Ilan first played with the toys, I thought they were too big.
The plastic was too thick.
I think I got so used to them that I didn’t realise that I was wearing them until my daughter’s birthday party, and I was just like, ‘Oh, that’s what I’m wearing now.’
“Ilan wants to find someone to watch her at the party, so I put on a little mask, and then I got out of the shower and I said, ‘Ilan, I need you to take a shower.’
I was like, Oh, that is great!
I was scared.
She started crying.
I just started laughing and I started crying, she said.
When the day comes, I’ll take the mask off and take her to the bath, I put her in the bathtub and wash her.
She’ll start laughing again.
But the moment I put it back on, I was crying again.
It just got worse and worse.
I’m so tired, I’m just crying, and she was just crying too.
She cried like crazy.
I had to do this all alone, I didn