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?
We obsess about transformers(for past 2yrs) & angry birds(recent) in this house. I agree that it is only a prob when it takes control. When u get to the point that the child physically can't use his hands bc they're too busy holding beloved transformers, somethimg has to give. Im lucky though,our son easily adapts to our requests & we can usually negotiate a fair compromise. I find that if I give him 2 choices of how to resolve issue, he will choose one way. And its my solution but he feels in control bc he made decision. For ex: "No, son u can't bring your transformers to school, but- we can either leave it in the car next to your seat for when I pick u up?… Or we can put it in mommy's bag & I will take good care of it for u & give it back to u after school. What do u want to do?"
Reserving a part of the day for discussing the obsession works really well also. I try to incorporate a lil speech therapy into that time, since it is SUCH a motivating force. When the convo becomes repetitive or overkill, I try to sneak a new idea or fact that ties in his love & something different. For ex: Son says (for the 8th time lol) "Transformers don't have feet & toes." I'll say, "Oh well I guess they can't learn to swim if they dont have feet to kick. But do u have feet u can kick in the water? U can learn to swim, right? Ppl can learn to swim bc all ppl have feet & toes. What else can swim besides ppl? We already know transformers can't swim but maybe u can think of something else?" To which he'd prob say "fish or dolphin" & that'd start a convo about how fish swim, or other sea animals or things that live in water, etc…. U catch my drift. It's kinda like pretending u "DON'T" know how to stay on topic yourself & go off on tangents…Meanwhile it's your hidden agenda to do so. Hehehe Sometimes tricking them is the 'trick'! Lol
I can't comment on this from a parent's perspective but I do so A LOT of obsessions, a few with every kid that walks through the door really!
One girl will talk obsessively about crocodiles so she has a visual time table for the day of when she is allowed to talk about crocodiles and when she isn't.
we have food and drink obsessions here spefically water, apples, carrots. Water is by far the worst, the water bottle must come everywhere and no nappy will hold for any length of time lol. We also have the middle of the night wake ups to search for the beloved water bottle.
Emmett\’s the same way with his sippy.
rose 18 so far obsessions have been dinos..tiny pony thingies..link..mario..ness and lucas..and now the horror of jedward the obsessions mean dressing like character cornering people in shops etc to share the love of the obsession and one morning last week (3amish) declaiming her adoration to a sleeping world very loudly out of a window. c’est la vie and hell i am so knackered! oh the duck obsession now that is something else!..