I have been doing the whole special needs parenting for a long time. Walking the road of life with my Austin kids is nothing short of amazing.
However, amazing does come with its challenges. The one I want to talk about today is obsessions. In my experience, both in my own personal family and through the many friends I have made through this blog, obsessions are very common with ASD kids.
Gavin, my oldest son, is 11 years old.He has only really ever had two main obsessions. By obsessions, I mean, he will literally, eat/sleep/breathe whatever his obsession is.
For Gavin, Legos and video games (in particular, Sonic the Hedgehog) are the two main obsessions he has. He will talk nonstop about Sonic or some new Lego thing that he wants. The only real problem I have with this is when it starts to control his life. That’s when we have to step and intervene.
Today was one of those times. We have had to once again remove video games from his life. We had been allowing him to earn some time to play when he did well with his weekly bloodwork. We have also been letting him help Elliott with his DSi games as well.
However, if we give Gavin an inch, he will take a mile.
Gavin becomes so focused on playing these games that he harrasses Elliott until Elliott agrees to play, so that he can help. Today got to the point that he really upset Elliott and so we just decided the best option was to cut him off again. This of course led to another meltdown…just a mild one though.
In my experience with Gavin, there is typically no middle ground. We either allow him to do something or we don’t. If we use words like, maybe later, not right now or perhaps next time, Gavin will become so anxious that he simply can’t stop thinking about it and thinking about translates into talking about it…..relentlessly.
Lizze and I have never discouraged Gavin from doing what makes him happy, however, at the same time we have a responsibility to ensure he doesn’t get obsessed to the point he can’t do anything else. As with many things in special needs parents, this is not an easy task…
Do you folks experience these obsessions? What kinds of things do your kids obsessed over? If it ever becomes a problem, how do you handle it?