A Modern Day Fairy Tale: Autism & Obsessions

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Autism & Obsessions

Showing his love of logos...literally!

I've heard it said before that individuals with Autism are just like the rest of us...just more extreme. When it comes to hobbies or interests, this certainly makes sense to me.

For the first part of his life, Shaun was obsessed with Thomas. It's not an unusual interest, many kids adore Thomas. But for a kid with Autism, that obsession can go above and beyond (or surpass the average age in some cases). For my Shaun, he had to have every. single. train. He would play with nothing but Thomas, and if he saw something he didn't have, he would obsess over it until he eventually owned it. He went through a period where he would only wear Thomas clothes. If he wasn't playing his trains, he was watching the movies or reading the books. (To this day, most of his preferred books are Thomas!). He knew every single train's name, which ones he owned and all about the various toy companies that made Thomas trains. Eventually he learned about trains beyond the Island of Sodor...what the individual parts were called, etc. He lived and breathed trains and Thomas. He still loves Thomas and plays with his trains frequently, though he has allowed himself to enjoy some other interest now as well- like Angry Birds, Pac Man and Star Wars. All perfectly typical interests, right?

Sometimes the obsessions themselves can be a little...unique! Right now, one of Shaun's huge obsessions is production companies. Never in my life have I seen a child show such an interest in them...or even pay attention to them at all. It started with a fear of movies. Anytime a new movie would begin, he'd run and hide. Eventually, we realized that if he was told who created it, he would be fine (aside from Pixar which still freaks him out- and he'll get in moods where he will ONLY watch 20th Century Fox, or ONLY Universal and runs away for anything else). From there, the obsession grew. He started telling US who made each movie. We were never sure how he knew all of them...movies he'd seen time and time again made sense, he does have a great memory, but movies he'd seen only once, or not at all...that simply blew our minds...and still does to be honest! Nine times out of ten, if you ask him who made any given movie, he can tell you accurately (when he's in the mood, of course!). It's truly astounding.

Shaun brought this home from school this week. They are working on sounding out words on their own (something Shaun is not a fan of- if he knows that it's not spelled right, he'd prefer to have someone else do it correctly than try to figure it out himself). Regardless, I'm sure he's the only 5 year old at school trying to sound out these particular words!

So very talented...notice he included the searchlights too!?

He didn't draw the lamp, but the letters were all him. One of the first times we realized he was actually able to write more than he was letting on!!

And if you thought that's where the obsession would end, you're wrong. Soon, he started wanting to watch videos on Youtube of various intros. Then he would see things that reminded him of different companies and have to have them...like a globe for Universal, a lamp for Pixar or a searchlight for 20th Century Fox.
 These days, he spends his days watching those Youtube videos and creating those logos he loves in any way he can...through legos, with playdoh, drawings...he can also frequently be found humming the 20th Century Fox theme song. Much like his obsession with Thomas, he now lives and breathes these production company logos!

Yesterday's Lego projects! Again, I'm astounded by his talent!

 An unusual obsession? Perhaps. But it's also one of those little things that makes Shaun 100% Shaun...there is no one else in this world that's quite like him, and I'm so proud to have been chosen to be his mommy. Life raising a child with Autism certainly has it's challenges at times, but it also keeps life interesting. I wouldn't trade this boy for anything in the world.

THX logo...see the little robot there!?

PBS P-Head. He loves drawing this guy too!!

1 comment:

  1. amazing the surprising children bring to you eh, my best friends son is autistic too. I remeber a few years ago he was just starting his obbession with hockey, which came out of no where because his parents werent hockey fans, and no one around him was either. next thing you know he just started talking about how great this one goalie was and we thought he was making it up but he swore up and down that this was the goalies that played for the leafs, we searched the name online, sure enough Corey was right. Amaazing how much time and effort corey put into watching hockey and researchin it all one his own, here I thought he was just staring at the TV, I didnt know he was listening and enjoying it just like I enjoy the things I like, really opened my mind


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