It seems that most kids with autism are very, very interested in certain things. What's your child's interest?
My son started being obsessed with car logos when he was two and memorized all the various car companies. We would walk through countless parking lots so he could identify all the various car makes and sometimes models. He memorized in the neighborhood of 65 different logos.
Then he was obsessed at various times with brick walls, the moon, broken windows, movie credits and the one that's lasted the longest has been THX Tex from the THX production clips before movies.
Pick almost any kids movie and he can tell you who is was produced by (Disney Pixar, Dreamworks, Paramount, 20th Century Fox, etc.)
His obsession with the moon was very strong until he had a bad dream that the moon had a maniacal grin and now I've had to hang thicker curtains in his room, he has to have the light on, he CANNOT see even the slightest bit of sky at night when he's trying to sleep.
Remember the movie "The Shining" when Wendy finds the pile of papers that Jack typed "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy." about a million times? Well I found a similar pile like that with drawings of the 20th Century Fox logo with spotlights. I flipped through them with the similar scared and concerned look that Wendy did.
Things always get worse over the summer when there is little structure to his day. During the school year, his obsessions were much milder and almost not even noticeable. I'm trying hard to figure out a schedule we can follow in hopes we can tone down the obsessions.
Does anyone have stories to share? I notice there are always a lot of views, but few replies. I hope that you feel free to share your stories.....and how you may have got your child to back away from his/her obsessions and focus on more day-to-day living.
Our son had a big obsession with cars, Match Box to be exact. He like to lay on the floor and watch the wheels. We actually embraced it. It was a socially accepted one and he eventually outgrew it. We have always thought that our son was going to do something wonderful with that passion-like redesigned the wheel He would get obsessed with a toy for a week or two. If it got too much we would re-direct him. It seems like they replace one thing with another. I have heard of one child (I think it was on here,) who was obsessed with pulling his hair out. The parents shaved his hair off and he exchanged it with shredding paper. That seems to be the case with a lot of kids....exchanging.
Maybe having a schedule for the day with break periods to play or do the obsessed thing at a specific time and place might help control it a little better?
Hey you never know......a obsession now might ease into a passion and become a career for them later.
[Our 3˝ year old grandson has an obsession with spinning objects especially fans in air conditioners. He runs to any he sees no matter what obstacles - traffic, fences and so on. If not allowed to do so he "collapses" on the ground and refuses to get up. This obsession has become dangerous for him. Any advice?
hi all my son who's nearly 4 is obsesed with cars and anything with wheels but his big obsesion is buses. he also love to line these up and goes mad if u disturb his line. i remeber 1 day we was in a/e and they had a box of toys in a little waitin room we was in and the doctor came in (vinny hurt his foot) the doctor knocked vinnys car line with his foot (the doctor foreign) and vinny went mad screamin flapping on the floor and this poor doctor who could barely speak english was horrified. and at this i wanted the ground to open up and swallow me up. and i remeber thinking that his obbsession was gettin to much for us all . but we just left him to it and he is alot better now . he is still obsesed with these things but it is manageble now. so i think you should just ride them out (unless there a danger to the child) coz the more of an issue we made over the obsession the more he semed to obses over them.hope this is of sum help bye 4 now
dralja, Maybe if you got him one of those hand held, little personal fans. I have seen them at drug stores and novelty shops, especially this time of year. They are very small, made of soft plastic-so it wouldn't hurt him. You could give it to him when you are out in public and it would keep him from running away from you and his attention direct towards that. It could be used as a reward also?
Mrs. Mantis, my son is now 9yrs old and has gone through just about all the obsessions you listed. Movie credits, movie logos, drawing, he loves small print and will look at car ads in the newspaper, game ads in magazines, etc...at school he's drawn to science and history books that have diagrams and detailed pictures (machinery, anatomy, etc...)He reads at grade level (he'll be in 3rd next year) but who knows how much he's soaking up in that cute little head! The drawing gets a little out of hand (he would go through a reem of paper a day if we didn't hide it from him), but we had never seen anything like it. From an early age he was drawing with perspective (ie...a car coming down the road toward you, using depth when he draws) He has gone through many variations but right now it's Transformers...page after page of them. When he was 3 and just starting school he was much harder(sometimes impossible) to redirect. After several years of it interfering with his ability to focus on learning we tried medication and that has helped. The one useless obsession he has right now is cracks. Cracks in bricks, cracks in concrete, cracks in the dirt, cracks in the floor...he drops to the ground and will spend endless amounts of time trying to make the cracks worse. His poor fingers were so raw sometimes we finally told him to use a stick or something...This is so much a compulsion with him the school had to start using it as a reward. If he completed the required task he could pick at the cracks in the pavement for a minute. I used it also in T-ball. He plays on a team for kids with disabilities and he wanted to stay next to the dugout and pick at the cracks in the dirt. So I'd say "Catch the ball and throw it 5 times, and then you can pick at the dirt for a count of 30." It worked, but I don't think it's good that we've kind of given up stopping him. We keep hoping he will outgrow it/exchange it for something else. Anyway, it's always nice to see you're not alone in trying to deal with that.
I think it would be useless to most people, but to him it's probably calming and fun. There's not much use in, for example, playing solitaire... but there are a lot of people who like that. Maybe it's like picking at peeling paint, or something like that... I like doing that, and though I've never been obsessed with it, me within five yards of peeling paint is likely to be me picking at said paint about five minutes later. No idea why it's so enjoyable, but it is. Go figure.
His track record says he has obsessions that change, so this one probably will, too. My obsessions change--I used to be fascinated with things I now find only mildly interesting. I had a Babysitters Club obsession when I was twelve to fourteen... read every one of those hundreds of books, memorized endless data... But nowadays, it's just a nostalgic, "Yeah, I really liked those when I was a kid."
I recently read a book where they said that there are two types of "special interests" in Asperger's: primary obsessions and secondary obsessions. According to this book, of which I cannot recall the author, a primary obsession is one that is all-encompassing, one where the Aspie must talk and talk and talk about the subject. A secondary obsession is one where the Aspie doesn't have to talk about the subject every chance he/she gets. It's an interest that is intense but doesn't consume them. They get very excited when the subject is mentioned, but they don't have to introduce it into the conversation just to have an excuse to talk about them.
With me, I find that a primary obsession eventually becomes a secondary obsession. It dies down in intensity where I don't have to ramble about it all of the time. So, my list of secondary obsessions is quite high. I have obsessions that have always been secondary and ones that were primary but have become secondary. I guess I'll just list both my primary and secondary obsessions and the ages at which they were most prevalent. All of the primary obsessions are either still primary today or have become secondary, unless otherwise noted:
-I Love Lucy (Primary from ages 13-14; strongest secondary today. I collect Lucy memorabillia, and it is the topic where I am literally a walking encyclopedia.)
-Roller coaster statistics (Primary from ages 12-13. This was probably my most "Aspie obsession"- the only one where I would literally go up to somebody and start rambling without even so much as a "hello")
-A Beautiful Mind (Current primary starting in December of '05.)
-Person obsession (Current primary starting in the fall of '05. I am obsessed with this person, yes, but contrary to what 90% of people think, I am NOT in love with him. I just greatly admire him and find him incredibly, incredibly amusing.)
-Pink Panther (Primary from ages 3-5. Not a true secondary obsession, although I still really like the cartoon.)
-Garfield (Primary from ages 2-4. Not a true secondary obsession, although I still really like Garfield.)
-Pregnancy/obstetrics (Primary from ages 4-5. Not a secondary obsession today, although it still somewhat interests me. I like watching birth shows.)
-Road signs (Primary from ages 2-4. Not a secondary obsession, although they still somewhat interest me.)
-Archie comic books (Primary from ages 6-13. Not a true secondary obsession today, although I still really like them.)
-Height requirements for amusement park rides (Secondary since around age 4.)
-Neuropsychiatric disorders (Secondary since around age 16. Asperger's in particular is right on the cusp between being primary and secondary.)
-American history (Secondary since around age 14.)
-Frank Sinatra's music (Secondary since around age 14.)
-FDR (Secondary since around age 15.)
-1920's (Secondary since around age 15.)
-SpongeBob SquarePants (On the cusp between primary and secondary from ages 12-13. Pure secondary ever since age 14.)
-Ed, Edd n Eddy (On the cusp between primary and secondary from ages 14-15. Pure secondary ever since age 16.)
-Degrassi: The Next Generation (Secondary since around age 18.)
-Full House (On the cusp between primary and secondary from ages 2-4. Pure secondary ever since age 4.)
-Science, particularly anatomy/biochemistry (Secondary since around age 3.)
Well, I think that's all of them. It's strange- I had a slew of primary obsessions as a toddler. And I've had many since around age 12. But my childhood years, from ages 6-11, were sort of devoid from primary obsessions. I really don't know why. It's as if my Aspie-ness was full-blown as a toddler and was revived at age 12. I was the geeky outcast in elementary school, but I had a different Asperger's profile in those years than I did as a toddler or now.
"Not everything that steps out of line, and thus 'abnormal,' must necessarily be 'inferior.'"
Last edited by GatsbyLuvr1920; 07-04-2007 at 08:57 AM.
My son who is almost 16 used to line things up in perfect order too. He would FLIP if someone even bumped them by accident. I remember planning my days around when Looney Tunes were coming on. If he would be in the car and see the clock get close to the time forget it. He has now calmed down A LOT. He does like to be home on time for his shows but takes it more as " no big deal" the older he gets. I promise that will get better. I think OT helps with desensitizing ( sp ??) I can not spell .. Anyway he also draws ALOT..like one person said on here. My son goes thru reams and reams of paper. He writes scripts. I think Aspies are so creative Drawing calms him.
From the start my son was overly obsessed with trains especially thomas. Then when he could use the computer he started obsessing about it. He would be on it playing games on disney and nickjr for 12 hours a day if I let him. I thought when he picked up the computer thing that thomas would stop but you know the funny thing is he plays thomas games online and most of the time plays with one hand and has a train in the other. But what ever floats his boat...lol
mother of autistic son with epilepsy and ODD not OCD who is 4, a bright daughter who is 6 and a crafty little boy whos 2 Pray for my sanity..lol
Logan (5) loves tires. We have three full cases of matchbox type cars and just about all of them have the tires off of them. The first thing he does is pull the tires off. We have a shoe box full of matchbox car tires. :lol
He also loves to read signs. He doesn't read but from tv or whatever he knows what they say even though he can't read yet. That to me is quite fascinating.
Camerons obsession's are power rangers and ben 10, he knows so much about them its mad! he also loves to play in his sand pit he would spend hours there if i didnt drag him away! he is also fantastic at directions! i dont know if its just because i am really rubbish! he can tell me how to get to places! his memory is amazing!
My son Doug is 16 and over the years we have been through a few different obsessions, although the one that he has had the longest has got to be Pokemon, especially Picachu. That particular obsession is going on about 12 years now. In between we have dealt with the obsession that occurs when new similar type programs come out, such as Dragon Ball Z, NeoPets, Yugeoh, etc. Unlike a lot of AS/Autistic kids, he has no desire to write- anything! He goes through phases where he draws, and what does he draw? You guessed it! Pokemon. He also loves "where's Waldo" and other look and find books.
I wonder about my younger son, he has only been found to have Autism like behaviors that could be from nothing more than modeling after his adored older brother (10 years between them). But Storm too has obsessions. His has been Thomas the Tank Engine (and anything else trains) since about 1 1/2 years of age! And one that he has finally out grown is FP Little People.
I am often concerned with their obsessive behaviors, but have learned to walk around the trains and tracks, pick up the Pokemon and love my kids for who they are. I hope that Doug’s obsession for video games (did I mention that he can solve a complex game in a matter of a couple of hours?) will turn into a job designing them. Or Storms will lead him to be an engineer or 'builder guy' (he is also obsessed with Lego's). What ever their future holds, I will be there for them!
My 3 year old son, who was diagnosed with ASD, is primarily obsessed with DVDs and CDs, which have fascinated him since he was 6 months old and broke our CD player by opening and closing it repeatedly. DVDs are all that we hear about during his waking hours ("I want this DVD, I want that DVD, I like DVDs, etc.). He even sleeps while clutching one of his treasured DVD cases and particularly adores the Baby Einstein and Disney ones. In ABA, the therapists persuaded him to draw by drawing DVDs and decorating them, so now that is all he wants to do, but he gets frustrated because his fine motor skills are on the weak side in spite of weekly OT, and he wants to draw them perfectly. We try to get him out of the house a lot where he is less likely to focus on this stim, but we also see DVDs as a comfort item and let him have them as needed. He also likes small print logos and is showing some signs of hyperlexia. I think his secondary obsession would be with birds, because they flap like he does, and because he sees himself as the baby bird and me as the mommy bird. He is constantly getting into the armchair with me, which he calls "his nest." That's kind of cute, though.