Fun Obsessions with Kids With Autism

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Long ago, I accepted that my son gets obsessive.

My oldest brother learned this about my son on a recent visit.

He came out to California from North Carolina with his wife and daughter. One day, I played tour guide and I took them around to many of the Hollywood/Los Angeles “touristy“ sights.

Along the way, my brother and his daughter, sitting in the back with my son, introduced a car game they play called “Punch Buggy.”

My son was curious, he had never heard of it. My niece explained the specific car that you have to identify (along with the color). She said you have to “call it“ out loud as soon as you spot one, and then you get a point. (FYI, they do not do the punching part of the Punch Buggy game).

At first, my son was not very interested. Then, as he realized the game was fun and competitive (he gets competitiveness from me), he started to play.

At first, he was late in calling out the punch buggy and the color of the car. He got frustrated. But, he kept trying.

As the game got boring for my brother and his daughter, my son was suddenly finding all of the punch buggies by himself. He would forget to call out the color, but my brother would remind him.

This became a thing (an obsession) and even after my brother and his family went home, my son continued the game.  

Was this a bad obsession?

Not at all.

My son?s obsessions over the years have been “weird,“ a bit “off,“ “colorful,“ but most of all creative.

Fire trucks, planes, power poles, cars, sprinkler heads, the Titanic, idioms, Minecraft, dogs.

They?ve been all over the place, but sweet.

How do you handle them?

We have created rules/limitations around them:

“Only one dog park visit per weekend.”

“You do not rush across the street to meet a dog.”

“You do not have to tell everyone the length of the engines on the Titantic.”

“You must stop playing Minecraft when you timer goes off and go do something physical.”

“Not everyone has a yard, and therefore not everyone has sprinkler heads.”

“Cats are okay, too.”

Secretly, I adore my son?s obsessions and we have even helped them along. We buy books, DVD?s, we talk about them, and we do try to incorporate them into our lives, with limits.

What happened with punch buggies?

Punch buggies continue to be an obsession.

In the car or walking on the street, if he spots a punch buggy, he calls out “punch buggy“ and the color of the vehicle. He says it with pride.

Should you limit the obsessions?

When they?re not harmful, why would you?

For example, my son learned “rules“ about his other obsessions—don?t dart across the street to see a dog. We trust him. I don?t see any reason to limit him or the things that interest him.

He may one day become a dog trainer, a fireman, a Minecraft developer, or a car designer. I?ve simply never been a fan of taking away his obsessions unless they interfere with school, sleep, or other daily life activities that need his attention.

Obsessions—You never know what will come of them!

Punch buggy, blue!

 

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