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Old 10-16-2006, 07:15 PM   #1
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Aspergers and obsessiveness?

Hi. I am a newbie! I have an almost 10 year old son with Aspergers.

He is having trouble with obsessions.

Ever since he was small, he has had obsessions. His first one was dogs. He was obsessed with any and all things that had to do with dogs.

He is currently going through a Yu Gi Oh obsession, and it is affecting him immensely. He is having temper tantrums over the cards (he has a bunch of them that are put up due to behavioral problems both at home and at school) and it is hard for him to try to deal with the whole thing.

I realize that some children with Aspergers get obsessed with things easily. And my son is one of those children.

Does anybody have any tips or hints on how to deal with the obsessions? I have looked all over online, and cannot find any help. The only information that I can find is that people with Aspergers have a high tendency to get obsessed with things (well, DUH!!).


Thanks in advance!

 
Old 10-16-2006, 08:34 PM   #2
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Re: Aspergers and obsessiveness?

I have always had one obsession or another. My first obsession was horses. I have also had obsessions with learning about certain parts of the world. (Japan, Spain, Greece, Ukraine, and England are a sampling of the places I have learned about in depth.) I also like the Olympic Games and, as my Internet name shows, cats. I have always been a cat lover. My favorite breeds are the Siamese, Oriental Shorthair, and tabby.

Currently, I am fascinated by English runner and physician Roger Bannister. He is a great inspiration to me. I suspect he had Asperger Syndrome. He inspires me not only because of the great things he has done, but also because of the successful life he has had, including a marriage of more than 50 years.

I really don't know how to deal with obsessions. I say, run with them. Everything I have learned, I have stored in my memory.

 
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Old 10-16-2006, 09:30 PM   #3
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Re: Aspergers and obsessiveness?

I'm with 9CatMom in that I just run with mine. It does interfere with my life at times because I become too fixated on something to do my schoolwork, but nothing has helped. The SSRI's certainly didn't. I was on them for my OCD before I was even diagnosed with Asperger's. Oh, God, if I were to list all of my past obsessions, I'd be here all night! I've had them ever since age two. I'll just list the major ones: As a toddler, it was mainly Full House, Garfield, Pink Panther, and road signs. (I wanted a plastic stop sign for my second birthday. I also got a plastic traffic light that actually did light up.) Pregnancy and obstetrics was age four, so much so that I wanted to be an obstetrician and would actually wear my mother's old maternity dresses and put my stuffed Pink Panther up my shirt to pretend I was pregnant. (Yes, I was an odd child.) Areas of science has always been big. I was very into the planets and the Solar System as a kid. I've always loved the human body and organs, mainly the brain and heart. I wanted an anatomy kit for Christmas when I was ten. It's pretty sweet. It doesn't fit together, though, despite years of trying... Cedar Point, specifically the statistics of their rolllercoasters, was big around age 12. This was one obsession that was very Aspie-fied because it was literally all I could talk about. My mom kept trying to veer me onto a different course while talking to someone else, so this is why I'm a little more self-aware of droning on about my "special interests" than many Aspies. However, I still do it. Several of my friends have to cut me off because I just keep talking and don't know how to end a conversation. I can't even think of other ones I had as a kid because there were just so many! As of now, my major one is I Love Lucy. I collect Lucy memorabillia. My bedroom is literally filled. Other big ones are neuropsychiatry (particularly OCD, Asperger's, and bipolar disorder- I don't have bipolar disorder, though), Frank Sinatra's music (listening to him right now), A Beautiful Mind, learning the Spanish language (I "translate" DVD's by writing down the subtitles), FDR, and American history (specifically 1914-1945). The thing with me is that, even though I cycle through obsessions, it's only with intensity. Everything I liked as a kid, I still like now, it's just not my main focus, now is all. I'm sorry that your son is becoming upset by it. The main point of the obsessive fixations in Asperger's is to provide a source of intense pleasure. My obsessions have never upset me in any way, even when they interfere with my work. Does he like pursuing Yu-Gi-Oh? If not, I'd say it's a different type of obsessional behavior, maybe more OCD-like. For example, sometimes I'll get stuck on something that I must finish. It's not fun anymore, but an obsessional need to finish. This is my OCD wanting a "perfect" place to "feel right" to stop or whatever. I do this a lot with my paper dolls, another fixation. I have books and books of paper dolls with old-fashioned clothes from the 20's-50's that I cut for relaxation, but since I only do it (now) when I'm not up at college, I tend to get fixated on finishing a book before I go back. I did that this weekend when I was home. It was fun at first (Asperger's), but then became an unpleasant, driving need (OCD). All in all, though, I think the obsessive fixations in Asperger's are a very positive thing because it allows us to encompass our excellent memories for fact that our Asperger's gives us, and it gives us the quirkiness that makes us interesting people. I mean, really, how many other people do you know who can approximate the date of a never before heard song Frank Sinatra recorded just by the tone of his voice? Or who knows that episode #30 of I Love Lucy is "Lucy Does a TV Commercial," the famous Vitameatavegamin skit, and that the Vitameatavegamin in the bottle was really just apple pectin? Or who can perfectly recite dialogue from scenes in A Beautiful Mind, right down to mimicking the intonation, gestures, and facial expressions the actor used? It gives us a chance to show off our talents, and with a disorder that can cause many negative things, something this tangible and easily accessible to show off the positive traits is nice. Good luck, God bless, and if you have any questions, feel free to ask!
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"Not everything that steps out of line, and thus 'abnormal,' must necessarily be 'inferior.'"
-Hans Asperger

 
Old 10-17-2006, 11:02 AM   #4
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Re: Aspergers and obsessiveness?

Our 7 year old boy does the same thing. Except it is with "girly" things. He is fascinated by Disney Princesses, dresses, long finger-nails, etc. He wants to know why girls where slips under there dresses, and why girls should curtsy (sp?). His latest interests are Little House on the Prairie and the Wizard of OZ. He wants to know how to dance the waltz. He sure learns alot while obsessing, I must say!

He has one older sister and two younger brothers that don't do this at all. In fact, his sister hates to wear dresses and hates girly stuff. I am not that feminine, either, I have no idea where he gets this. It is very frustrating.

A therapist explained to me last week that maybe his cognitive/emotional age is several years behind, and gender specific stuff isn't concrete until age 6 or 7. It got me thinking...gave me a little hope.

We've also tried taking the obsession away, but it made things worse. So, now, when he comes home from school, he heads straight for the TV and watches his special interest movie while he spins in an office chair. It seems to help him unwind.

Good luck to you and your son.

 
Old 10-17-2006, 12:11 PM   #5
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Re: Aspergers and obsessiveness?

Thanks.

One of his special education teachers (actually the para educator) said that last night she talked to the special education teacher that has made the most impact in my sons life (she switched schools this year and really misses my son). The teacher said that the best way to combat a negative obsession (one that takes over and causes tantrums and grief) is to try to get the child obsessed with something else.

We had been debating starting swim lessons up again with our son (DH and I) so today we will be signing him up. Which I am lucky about because I just got a phone call about an hour ago from my son crying because he saw another class get back from swim lessons and he wanted to go swimming. So, I was able to tell him that I had planned on signing him up for lessons today (they start in November) as soon as he was out of school this afternoon.

I wouldn't worry about the obessions if they didn't affect him in a negative way. However, when he is having temper tantrums and throwing fits over an obsessive object, I need to draw the line and try to deter him from it.

Thanks for the comments!!

 
Old 10-17-2006, 01:03 PM   #6
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Re: Aspergers and obsessiveness?

1boy4me,
Hi, I have a 15yr old daug. who is still to this day obsessed with Sleeping Beauty. All the princesses, but especially SB. She is ADD and deals with Traumatic Brain Injury, poor eyesight and learning problems. She is excellent at memorizing something if she is INTERRESTED in it. She is all about being in love, being kissed for the first time, the prince on the white horse or carriage coming and taking her away. I really fed into it while she was smaller, and it has snowballed. She uses up reams of computer paper drawing Sleeping beauty. She can draw pretty well, but can go on about it to the point that I just about want to scream. I know she can't help it but she was to the point she couldn't even finish an assignment at school with out chewing the edges of the paper and drawing SB on it. It is quite maddening. She has not been diag. with Aspbergers, but my neighbor has 2 children with it and one is obsessed with Pokeman and she is 13 and her 8yr old with guns and transformers of everykind. I have noticed that when they are OCD about something, they sure know their stuff. I am only hoping it will help her in the future. My Daug. had her whole room Sleeping Beauty, collectables (SP), books figurines etc... We couldn't take it anymore and told her she had lost 2 friends because she was a teen and couldn't move on like her other friends. She went away for vacation and my husband and I went through her room. Got rid of her hourding junk, (she was cutting SB out of wrapping paper, magazines etc.) bought 2 totes and packed away almost all the Sleeping Beauty stuff. We did keep out a few of the more special things and a few of her dolls. We kept all the Porciline (SP) ones out for display and the snow globes, shampooed the carpet and painted and decorated the room more teen like. When she got home she was a little shocked, but not upset. We let her know all her stuff was in totes in the basement and when there was more room (when she moves out) it's all hers. She needed to move on and focus on school. This was 2yrs ago and yes, she has added more things to the room, but not to many. She started doing better in school, but still draws instead of doing homework of keeping her rm clean. We had her take Drama so she could act out her obsessions a little, her other one is Romeo and Juliet of course. She is excellent and can repeat for word the play and movies. It is quite amazing. I just want her to graduate from high school. She is now obsessed about a boy in one of her classes. She finally stopped talking about the one she was OCD about for 2yrs. He looked at me, smiled, touched my hand, walked past my locker..... about 30 times a day just after school. I listen, but somedays it is too much. She feels the need to keep telling me the same story she just told me 1hr ago so she can talk about him again, then makes stuff up, (My other daug. is a SR. and goes to school with her). I can't pretend to know what to do, it is crazy. I know it is all important to her, I just want her to get along in life and do well, and not get hurt. She is in a fairytale land and I don't know if she will ever get out.
Thanks for listening and hope the swimming lessens help your son enjoy life!!!
Take Care

 
Old 10-17-2006, 02:03 PM   #7
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Re: Aspergers and obsessiveness?

I am new at this board and I am trying to read the posting and join the discussion, I was reading your posting and I think that maybe this could help your son a little if you make a card and put on it FIRST and after THEN, you can explain your son first you do this and after you going to play with this card, or something like that. I just want to introduce you the idea how to deal with the behaviour if he does not want to do something. So you tell him first is this,,,, and then You have the card…..
FIRST THEN
We used this at school and this work with some children. I am new at this website and I do not know how this works, I did one posting before and now I want to go back and check if someone respond to my positing and I do not know how to do, I try to go on different things around this posting but it seems nothing works. I just see the number how many people respond and how many people see the posting.

 
Old 10-17-2006, 02:10 PM   #8
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Re: Aspergers and obsessiveness?

Everyones posts sound so familiar. My 12 yr. old son is obsessed with WWI, WWII, and Vietnam. He can and will tell you so many details about these wars including strange facts that I have no idea where he even finds the information. I orginally thought he might have been making some of it up but I did some checking and he was right. Some days when I have had a long day at work and I get home and he has hours of new obscure facts to tell me it is a little frustrating but I keep telling myself that maybe one day one of his obsessions will become a lucrative career for him. He would make a good history professor. I have talked to him about the fact that everyone is not as interested in war as he is and although I am not sure he totally understands what I am trying to tell him we compromise by giving him a specific amount of time that he can express himself concerning his obsession.
On a day when I have low tolerance I might give him an hour split into two half hour segments. Most days he is alright with this arrangement. On the days he is not I try to be patient but I have also worked to divert his attention to something else. As long as his homework is done and he breaks to eat dinner I don't limit the amount of time he spends focused on his obsession.

 
Old 10-17-2006, 02:15 PM   #9
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Re: Aspergers and obsessiveness?

Hi my son is 7 and is an aspie his obsession is with "Yu-Gi-oh" it used to be pokemon we have thousands of cards in the house games we tried to put them in binders but that was to hard he won't lets us just do it he has to reorganize and the melt downs are soo intense we don't try that any more he has put them in dif. piles he has some sort of system he is in a program at school for spectrum kids they let him bring them (meaning the sp. 60-80 he has picked out) he has a tub he puts them in as soon as he gets to school and he can earn free time so far so good it has only been a few weeks of this i'm kinda waiting for the day he tries to some how bring moe lol he begsa for the he prints them off the computer to cute them out and glue them on to cards that don't matter to him this seemed to help for a while untell we ran out of ink lol.... he gets soo excited if we get him a pack 4.97 at walmart lol we get there and its this whole thing on witch ones and if he only had 1 dollar more he could get this great pack so i have given in just to get out of the store but before we can get out of the isle its if i had 2 dollars more etc..i have just cried in the store with him because we can't ever get it right he gets tehm opens them he might like 1 or 2 cards but then before we leave the parking lot he he will say tanks but if i could have gotten the other one and then it starts all over a few days ago i thought i would get him a pack and though i would just get it and "suprize him" thats easier but it is still hard i was soo glad to see he isn't the only one like this i don't post very much but i read alot on this site... My guyu while enjoy other things and get on a little side track for a about 1 week evry 3 months or soo and we hope and pray we are done with the cards but then we are right back ther it is nice for the break some times though.

 
Old 10-17-2006, 02:17 PM   #10
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Re: Aspergers and obsessiveness?

sorry my spelling is awful

 
Old 11-08-2006, 08:50 AM   #11
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Re: Aspergers and obsessiveness?

My son is now 15 and was diagnosed when he was 9. His original dx was adhd, but that is fairly common. He was very obsessive when he was younger but has outgrown it mostly. It is really amazing what a bit of maturity has done for him. His obsession was pokemon, video games and swords. I did indulge his interests (even entered him in a fencing class for a few years) If you can find anykind of physical activity that might interest him go ahead. I have also used bribery, cash. He is very money oriented and told him if he participated in something I would give him $ for each day/week he participated but you must write up plan and tell them you do have to make any changes or adjustments if need be.He can save his money to buy that something that he is obsessed with, it is a real motivater. But he must truely try and not argue at all or he doesn't earn anything....you must be strick with this because they can be stubborn. At the first sign of anything negative he gets one and only one warning. If it continues we immediatly stop and leave no matter what. I have actually gotten him to enjoy bowling doing this.. He didn't want to do this at first because of the noise at the bowling alley but now he enjoys it. A friend and fellow mom of a Aspie kid tried this, it worked sometimes for her son also.

Keep smiling..it does get better.

Remember these kids are quirky, but that is sometimes a good thing!

 
Old 11-09-2006, 07:11 AM   #12
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Re: Aspergers and obsessiveness?

Albinus,

I don't consider it strange at all. Look at me. I'm a 42 year old American woman who is fascinated by English runner Roger Bannister. I think my interest in him stems from an interest in achievers against incredible odds. People with Asperger's and autism have to work hard to overcome obstacles, so my interest in Roger Bannister seems pretty logical to me.

 
Old 11-13-2006, 07:59 AM   #13
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Re: Aspergers and obsessiveness?

Hi, I'm Jen, and I haven't been on this board for a while. My son, Joe, is nine and has Asperger's, adhd, mild cerebral palsy and a learning disability regarding writing. His obsessions started with giraffes at age 2, moved onto outer space in kindergarten, and now includes moose and the Presidents. I find one, getting him involved with sensory, creative art projects helps him focus on something else, especially painting birdhouses, or making paintings with very thick artist acrylics. Also using his obsessions as a reward or motivator in a positive manner, as in earning points that can be used towards new cards or watching a video on a topic. I say all this though kind of gritting my teeth, because right now we are dealing mostly with continual meltdowns, and don't have much time to do the positive things.

 
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