We are still in the midst of April’s Autism Awareness. Today Andrea’s shares about Alex’s obsessions…
Autism Awareness Month: Alex’s Obsessions
If you know a child with Autism, you have probably noticed that they often get fixated on certain items. To kids with autism, these objects are familiar and predictable. They often help them in dealing with anxiety or get them calm in an environment that is uncomfortable to them.
Alex has had several different fixations/obsessions over the years. At one point, he was obsessed with salt shakers. When I would leave the room to change Annika’s diaper or something, he would scoot a chair over to the cabinet. He would then crawl on top of the countertop, grab for the shaker, and pour as much as he could out before I got to him. “Salt” would be the first thing he said when he came downstairs in the morning.
Alex also went through a stage where he was obsessed with balls. It didn’t matter what kind of ball, what shape, etc. He just loved balls. I can’t tell you how many balls we owned. He would sleep with them all over his bed.
Then, his next obsession was lawn mowers. He would sit and talk to them and play with them for hours. He would go back and forth in the yard mowing with them. We always joked that he would be a landscaper when he grew up.
I think we counted we had around 16 or so between our house and my parents’ house. He still likes them, but we have been able to get rid of most of them. When he was in the hospital for his cancer treatments, he would have to sleep with one most nights!
The latest obsession which has lasted quite a while is balloons and inflatables. He really became obsessed with balloons while he was in the hospital. This may have been his way of coping with all of his treatments – I am not sure.
I just know that no matter what his little body was going through, a balloon made him very happy, and he would sleep with it and talk to it. He loves inflatables which range from bounce houses to pool rings and floats.
I can’t even begin to think of how many beach balls, swim rings, inflatable seahorses, etc. that we own. When he isn’t blowing one up, he is looking them up on his iPad and doing screen shots of them. He knows the manufacturer and model of each ring, float, etc.
For a while, we struggled thinking we should move him away from these little obsessions, but we realize they are his calming mechanism. I think his surroundings often over stimulate him or confuse him, and this is his comfort. So, we go along with it.
If you see us at the ball field, you will most likely see Alex with one of his inflatables. I apologize if you get knocked over by it or hit in the head . We get odd looks when we go places with these things, but so be it. When I asked Alex what he wants for his birthday this month, he listed various inflatables. It makes him happy, and in the end, that is what we want for all of our kids.