Within the TV present Parenthood, one of many characters, Max Braverman, is a toddler with Asperger Syndrome. Max displayed lots of the basic autism traits, together with obsessing over particular subjects. One in every of his robust areas of curiosity was pirates. Max liked to decorate up like a pirate and act out his made-up tales. His TV father, Adam, was struggling to search out these connection factors with Max that he so desperately longed for, so he determined to decorate up like a pirate and enter Max’s imaginary pirate world. The episode ends with Adam and Max operating round of their pirate garb having a good time collectively. It was actually touching to see them each having enjoyable as father and son.
This scene from Parenthood struck a chord with me as a father of a kid on the spectrum. Our son Trevor definitely had issues that he obsessed about rising up, together with the TV exhibits Blues Clues and Spongebob Squarepants, puzzles, and drawing. He by no means obtained bored speaking about his areas of pursuits and will recall the minutest of particulars with ease. He might hold himself occupied for hours on finish which in some respects made him very straightforward to take care of. On the identical time, letting him stay in his personal world with out interplay wasn’t good for his long-term social expertise progress. At the moment I do know greater than the common dad does about Spongebob Squarepants, Patrick, Squidward, Sandy, Mr. Krabs, Plankton, and Pearl (Mr. Krabs sperm whale daughter).
As Trevor aged, his pursuits grew with him. As a teen his meals menu was very restricted to a handful of things. As he obtained older, although, his curiosity in meals grew to a degree the place he’s now prepared to strive most something that is not spicy. Now as an grownup he not eats all kinds of meals but additionally loves cooking. One other obsession of his is motion pictures. He so loves motion pictures that he graduated cum laude from Arizona State College with a level in Movie and Media Research. He has a film evaluate web site Trevor’s View on Hollywood the place he writes critiques utilizing his personal 32-data-point scores scale.
Now I really like watching motion pictures, and I LOVE meals. Given his ardour for each, these are two pure connection factors that we’ve collectively. One in every of our favourite motion pictures is Males in Black. We have seen it many instances through the years. In actual fact when the third Males in Black film got here out we went to see it collectively within the theater. Previous to the film that they had a MIB trivia contest. Trevor and I nailed the questions and got here dwelling the proud homeowners of black MIB t-shirts. We additionally love going out for breakfast, lunch or dinner collectively at locations starting from The Melting Pot to Costco for decent canines. These are issues that we each love doing collectively and as a dad I fiercely shield our time for these actions.
Do you see this as an space to work on? This is a number of pointers which will allow you to strengthen these connection factors in addition to assist your little one with socialization and publicity to new issues:
- Get into his world – Actively look to see these areas the place your little one exhibits curiosity and actively plot out actions you’ll be able to take that can allow you to be a personality in his world.
- Watch reactions – With some issues Trevor most popular to be the only real actor, like drawing when he was little and pictures as an grownup. He’s content material (and prefers) to be doing these issues on his personal and for me to be a cheerleader and admirer. My position wasn’t to attract with him as a toddler or to take footage with him now; it is to be supportive of his pursuits.
- Search for alternatives to introduce new pursuits – Trevor wasn’t born loving SpongeBob SquarePants; he was uncovered to it and developed an curiosity. Benefit from time collectively to discover new potential pursuits. For instance, we made it some extent to eat dinner as a household each night time at 6 p.m. This was the place we launched the “Ten instances” rule for attempting new meals. Trevor needed to strive one thing ten instances earlier than he determined he did not prefer it. On reflection we must always have named it the “3 times” rule as a result of that is about what it labored to be. However, Trevor knew that he wanted to strive one thing new greater than as soon as earlier than saying he did not prefer it. This was key to him increasing his menu selections.
- Create routine round curiosity areas – When Trevor and I did issues it was normally after dinner, whether or not it was watching a favourite present, enjoying a pc sport, or doing another exercise. He knew when to count on that point collectively so it was a welcomed exercise. I discovered to not method him out of the blue and counsel doing one thing, as he already had his actions deliberate out; my unplanned exercise was interrupting his schedule, which is one thing individuals with autism usually do not recognize.
- Your little one is not you – I liked enjoying sports activities as a toddler. Trevor needed nothing to do with sports activities. Whereas it could have been nice seeing him pitch an ideal sport, I could not venture my pursuits on him to the place he would hate doing one thing simply because I liked it (and subsequently resent me). By all means introduce him to new issues, however acknowledge when it simply is not going to occur and do not power it.
I can not specific sufficient the significance of discovering these connection factors along with your autistic little one. Whereas there have been struggles alongside the best way, I’m grateful that Trevor and I’ve these connection factors the place we’re capable of get pleasure from actions collectively and construct upon the good relationship we’ve.