HELP FOR PARENTS OF CHILDREN WITH ASPERGER'S & HIGH-FUNCTIONING AUTISM

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Dealing with Obsessions and Compulsive Behaviors in Aspergers Children

Kids with Aspergers often must deal with obsessions and compulsive behavior. They may become fixated on a narrow subject, such as the weather, compulsive neatness, baseball statistics or other narrow interest. In fact, this is often a hallmark sign of the syndrome. While many of the core issues with Aspergers can’t be cured, there are ways parents can cope with such issues and learn to overcome some of them.

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34 comments:

Anonymous said...

there could be worse obsessions.

Anonymous said...

they say playing with Legos helps with math, science and problem solving.

HallieMiddlebrooks said...

My 6 year old Aspie is also a Lego fanatic. We use new Legos as a motivator for him to do chores, homework, etc. He's also got several Lego apps on his iPad2. I just deal with it. Maybe he'll be an engineer or architect and build real buildings some day.

Anonymous said...

This is a tough one. My son is like this with Batman. He wants every Batman figurine he can get his hands on, and until he has them he bugs me to death asking for them. It's almost like I want to buy them for him so he'll quit asking but I don't want to spoil him either. And if he's like my son you can't get rid of anything, even one piece he'd notice and it would send him in to a rage. So I'm sure taking down a structure is out of the question. I hope someone on here will have some good advice.

Anonymous said...

I was talking with my son's school about his obsessions and steering him away. They said as long as it's not hurting anyone to not worry about his obsessions. I had wanted them to encourage other play, but they were instant that it really was not a big deal. Like Amanda said, there could be worse obsessions. My son's obsession is the color yellow. Other things come into play for 6-9 months like toys or characters, but they eventually phase out.

Anonymous said...

have you tried using the Legos to branch off into another interest? use space legos to move him toward other space related activities etc.

Anonymous said...

My son is Aspie too.He goes through periods of obsessions with different things. None of them are harmful, so why not keep his mind busy creating. They are going to have obsessions, I think your son's obsession is a healthy one, educational too. He could be an architect one day. :)

Anonymous said...

my eldest girl whom is 16 is obsessed by lego she has been since she was little, she has other obsessions also but I encouraged the lego 1 more. Because now she is able to follow instructions and build anything from tv units to flat packed wardrobes I think lego is marvellous and has many benefits.. My youngest little man is 6 with a dx of autism he 2 adores lego would spend hours building and constructing I think it is helping him devlop his attention span and fine motor skills which in turn could benefit his handwriting.. It helps with problem solving as well so in my opinion I love lego it has amazing benefits

Anonymous said...

Obsessions will vary from time to time. Lego building is good for him.

Anonymous said...

I think it should be fine. My 12 year old Aspie son is obsessed with fish and anything to do with them. Its not hurting anyone and it makes him happy. They have a wide imagination and that is how some of them show their ideas. I bet his room looks great !!
22 minutes ago · Like

Anonymous said...

my son was obssessed with jesus and ebeneezer scrooge that was a strange few months he is now at a power rangers stage x

Anonymous said...

I too deal with the Lego obsession with my 9 year old son. I have to get bins to put Legos in. I have one bin that slides under his bed for his current Lego's he is playing with. I have many tubs of Lego's in his closet and from time to time I empty half of a bin/tub and put them in a bag by the trash (where someone finds them and takes them for there kids, or the thrift store). I have to do this to make room for new ones or else it would be out if control. So I don't think Legos are a bad obsession to have but it can get out of control with to many (like thousands) LOL :)
PS every once in a while he will wonder where one little price went and I panic a bit and just play the "I don't know sweetie" card :P

Ilene said...

Okay, this is going to sound mean, but why does the child have so many lego's? I can understand obsessions as my child spends way more time on the computer than he should, but someone is buying all of these Legos. Even if the child 'buys them with his allowance' we place restrictions on how much of something my child can buy.

Anonymous said...

I wish mine would touch a Lego! He's 7 and all I hear about is pokemon. He knows every name all their attacks and everything about the games! I'll swap pokemon for Lego any day! But if it doesn't go let them go :) it's distressing for them to be torn away from things like that and if you stop it he will find something else to obsess over eventually. We buy my son pokemon cards and trade him cards for house work. I get weeks of work for just 1 nintendo game :)

Anonymous said...

My Aspie son started at age 4 collecting. He's 14 now and still collects them. He makes the most amazing creations of his own. He also makes stop motion videos with his Legos. He makes big sets out of them. It's amazing. I think it's so very creative and he loves it.

Anonymous said...

My daughter too! She LOVES her legislation and making creations!! She's 7 1/2 & has been collecting them since 4 years old ! She is very organized! I like how legos help her find a nuetral common with her peers :-) she was getting really upset that no one like science and bugs. LOL!
12 minutes ago via mobile · Like

Anonymous said...

pokemon my son is 15 and has been obsessed since he was about 6 I really have grown to dislike pokemon

Anonymous said...

My son's obsessions are Legos and Star Wars mostly, so we have a lot of legos and star wars stuff, and lego star wars sets, etc. I don't see anything wrong with it. The legos help with fine motor skills and it's a creative outlet for him.

Anonymous said...

My daughter is nearly 15 - she has AS. I don't called it obsessions I say 'Special Interests'... She's had special interests that started as a toddler with Polly Pockets then moved onto Dennis the Menace, Roald Dahl was an interesting one I helped her all I could we visited the museum - we asked if she could read un-published books - she even won a Whole School Quiz on Roald Dahl because of her knowledge at that time!!! It moved onto Pokemon - cards - books - films - everything Pokemon - keeping lists - facts - ds games - until she had exhausted the subject!!! However, she is now this amazing ray of sunshine that surprises me every day - her 'Special Interest' now is Japanese Manga/Animee.

Anonymous said...

all our kids have special obsessions and yes ill call it that cause he is obsessed and frankly i dont care it makes him happy. one if it gets overwelming in my house i have him take a picture of it and put it in his book ;) works well he gets to take as many pics as he wants of it..then he can choose one or more to destroy and redo..in some ways hes said he likes it - gives him a challenge to build it again off his photos or new design... that and having a mini art gallery night/party for him every now and then keeps him from getting all upset...friends have bought some work and he loves when he visits to see his work displayed proudly! try some lego clubs- i know some cities have them our library here does one..they build there and its got to be taken down to take your legos home or for others to use their supply next time...

Anonymous said...

My 8 year old is the same. I cannot even see the floor in jis bedroom most of the time. It drives me nuts! However Lego helps him calm down and so gor now I try not to go in there.

Anonymous said...

My son was totally obsessed with building anything - legos, k'nex, etc... Primarily he enjoyed K'nex because he could build models that moved. We ended up finding it to be a great way to help bridge him to other interests. K'nex runs an annual building contest (K'NEXpert) and I am so proud that my son ended up winning the grand prize for his age group this past year! Winning $20,000 towards college. I wrote a parent story available on their Knex.com website telling how the contest really helped motivate him to do so many things that he wouldn't otherwise have done. He wanted to build a large K'nex Skyride and so he ended up riding a number of skyrides that summer to do research. My son wouldn't otherwise have ever gone on anything where his feet weren't touching the ground!

Anonymous said...

My 6 yo aspie is obsessed with legos too. I say go for it. My husband just built 6 - 4 foot shelves to hold his creations. I am sure we will be building more soon. At least it is a hand, eye, mind activity and is not video games :)

Anonymous said...

Let him keep collecting!!! That 5 year old's Lego masterpieces are tomorrow's engineering phenomenon! Trust me! My aspie is 13 and although he, like others, has phased through several obsessions - the Legos have not stopped fascinating and entertaining him since he was two years old. Interesting how Legos are such a common interest among Aspies? Love to see what the connection is.
19 hours ago via mobile · Like

Anonymous said...

Ahh a place of like minds my son had big any lego buzz since 4 even takes all the tyres off to make trains it lives in conservatory, my daughter had about 35 each my little ponies & barbies.

Anonymous said...

My son only has two or three sets. I definitely need to get him playing with those more to improve his skills.

Anonymous said...

Let him collect. My son has an extensive hoard of Transformers, Legos, Pokemon and Bionicle. He also has a thing for Play Doh.
[The collections do gain value even if they are used] One day they will be sold to contribute to the higher learning fund or if he chooses, his first car. They keep him occupied, in his room and quiet for hours and although I love spending time with him, I do need the extended breaks those interesting toys provide.
If you want to branch out his interest and avoid buying any more Legos, try offering him a video camera w/tripod and teach him stop motion. He can watch his creations build/change/disassemble themselves on film. It should keep him occupied with the store of supplies he already has. Worked for me.

Anonymous said...

My son was totally obsessed with building anything - legos, k'nex, etc... Primarily he enjoyed K'nex because he could build models that moved. We ended up finding it to be a great way to help bridge him to other interests. K'nex runs an annual building contest (K'NEXpert) and I am so proud that my son ended up winning the grand prize for his age group this past year! Winning $20,000 towards college. I wrote a parent story available on their Knex.com website telling how the contest really helped motivate him to do so many things that he wouldn't otherwise have done. He wanted to build a large K'nex Skyride and so he ended up riding a number of skyrides that summer to do research. My son wouldn't otherwise have ever gone on anything where his feet weren't touching the ground!

Anonymous said...

My son also has this obsession, and as previously said, it could be worse, though is an expensive hobby. He used to love Thomas, and honed his building skills on elaborate track systems prior to the millions of creations he has made with LEGO. It's always a balancing act, though, with his obsessions, like making sure they don't encroach upon my space, making sure that having his favorite in his pocket is less important than remembering to bring his homework to school (not winning that one), trying to avoid the meltdown if the agreed upon target goal (new lego, earned through elaborate point systems) cannot be bought TODAY. I would rather channel this energy to LEGO than something else less desirable. ANd now, I am hopeful that maybe he'll win one of the contests that he is usually entering (thanks for sharing Karen B).
13 hours ago · Like · 2

Anonymous said...

We use it as part of our son's behavior plan. I think they are great for fine motor skills. I love the picture idea, so they can remember their projects. My son wants to keep all the boxes. I told him just the directions or we might end up on Hoarders. At least they give him something to talk about with his peers. And if you have ever been through a "Thomas the Tank" obsessions Legos seem like a dream come true. LOL

Anonymous said...

I could not agree more with the posts above. The First Lego League along with robotics it teaches teamwork and great skills like research and public speaking. Anyone can start a group not just schools or teachers ours was started by parents of a lego crazy kid! http://www.firstlegoleague.org/

Anonymous said...

Here is a link to the K'nexpert info too - I encourage any of your kids to enter... it is such a great experience, and if they qualify they can tour the headquarters and meet the design team... so cool. The entry for the contest usually runs over the summer... http://www.knex.com/club/knexperts.php
2 hours ago · Like

Anonymous said...

My apergers son who is now 12 has been playing with his lego since he was about 2 or 3 he loves it along with his younger brother and sister they can play for hours not always together now as they use it in completely different ways... i have to admit i also played lego when i was a child for years i found it to be the best invention ever and still do... There is so many things you can build and do with lego they are even using it in one of our secondary schools to make there own videos in visual movies classes... Number one toy on the market it helps with maths, motor skills, focus, well the list goes on if you think about it... :)

HarryMonmouth said...

Talking from the other side of the fence here I have to say it makes me smile to see you talking about all your kids who remind me so much of me. I do agree that there can be good obsessions. I'm about 40 now and my obsession is fairly broad. I am not limited into one narrow focus but am more obsessed with learning everything there is to learn. Obviously this is absolutely impossible and I find that I lose sleep because I cannot stop reading until I drop and then I wake up early and I miss meals. I have to read while I am walking. I cannot stop. Certainly it is a blessing in many ways but it is also a torture. It is as though you asked for the gift of immortality and then had to live through the death of civilisation and extinction of humanity and through an eternity of loneliness. I exaggerate but I am not far off the scenarios I see as an inevitability of my obsession.

My point is that while it is great to be able to focus for a long time, and the reason I stopped taking some of my medications is because this ability to focus is part of who I am and something that gave me an advantage over other people in my field, it is essential to be able to control it. I have adjusted a lot through my life and have been reasonably successful but in other ways I am a complete disaster.

Of course I was born before Hans Asperger's recognition of my condition so I didn't have any counselling when I was young, but I kind of wish I could have. Medication at a young age would have been pointless, perhaps it might have helped in my teens but then I would never have become who I am. Counselling and some kind of education in how to control my tendencies would have helped a lot. As it is I learnt a lot about how to fit in through trial and error. In some ways my idiosyncrasies are very advantageous but there are still these 'beneficial' tendencies that I didn't seek to learn how to control and as I have matured it is these which have become most debilitating.

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