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Do I fight the obsessions???

Lisa - posted on 08/04/2009 ( 36 moms have responded )

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My 5yo autistic son is obsessed with Thomas The Train (and Im sure Im not alone on this one) but do I fight it or just let it be. One of his teachers said he was stimming on them but that is all he is interested in. If I took them away I think we might all go crazy. Do you guys fight the obsessions? And Im so tired of hearing about Thomas that I think I might scream (to myself of course). Is anyone else experiencing this?

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Sasha - posted on 08/06/2009

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My son is now 16. He has just finished mainstream high school and is about to go to college. I did not allow his obsessions. His tendency will always be there, but he can function. When things do not go his way he does meltdown. If things do not go according to plan he does not melt down. If somthing unexpected happens he does not melt down. Yes it was hard. But dealing with it latter is harder. When a child is young the brain is more adaptable. Going into adult life with these obsessions leaves people in need of carers, while helping to overcome them leads to them being able to have friends. We are all working towards our kids being adults. While I know many of you will hate my viewpoint on this, the obsessions are at the core of why aspies/ HFauties do not cope in society. I strongly advocate doing the hard work early, because waiting is even harder and often too late. I am sorry if this upsets anyone. If you want to know more about my son, his headshot from his acting agency shows a great deal, and despite all the hard work and sleepless nights I have no regrets. I wish you all well with your own personal choices of how to deal with this.

Tracy - posted on 08/07/2009

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I don't fight the obssessions unless they become dangerous (such as our karate phase) but other than that no i don't we went through the thomas phase, now it's Mario party, he pretends to be a different character each day, so every day we have to call him donkey kong, luigi etc.... its hard to keep track but they are a useful tool in school and at home if you can hone it to meet your needs! For example my son HATES to count on his fingers to do his math homework so we count mario stars or yoshi's or whatever! Hope that is helpful!

Lupita - posted on 09/07/2011

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Hello :
my baby is 2 years old he LOVES Tomas , lately his asking for "more" so I went and buy him some more, but I try to alternate , with other cartoons and even thought Tomas is his favorite, I use that obsesion to reward him , or get him to cooperate with Mommy, good luck!!! I understand is hard for you ,let God guide you and you'll be sorprise !!!
Blessings

[deleted account]

Been there! As my daughter gets older we use her obsessions as rewards. She only gets to talk about them for 5 minutes, then thats it until the task she has been given is finished. This is also done at school. She is now 10 and can talk about them at recess all she wants to friends, but she has to let friends take there turn talking also. This helps her with communication skills. I've noticed she only goes on and on now when she is nervous or has met someone new. Get ready, because obessions do change. I'm so glad to be out of the snake phase. I'm handeling Littlest Pet Shops much better.

Bea - posted on 08/10/2009

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Don't fight it...the obssesion goes, only to be replaced by another!!!! My lovely boy was mad about Thomas. Now he adores Ben10. He also has a huge obssesion with Playstation games. However, we can use this sometimes as a carrot to tempt him to do things he doesn't want to do...so there are some benefits!! As long as you try to limit it (for your sanity, and the school teacher's!!), as it also teaches them a little about social structure

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Patricia - posted on 10/02/2012

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I wouldn't fight it. Just makes it worse. Soon he will be on to something else to drive you crazy-ha.

Mindy - posted on 09/07/2009

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Thomas & friends are our life! My Autistic son is now 17 and we still eat, sleep, poop, pee, etc. Thomas The Tank Engine. "Hero Of The Rails" DVD comes out today...you can bet we will be at ToysRUs when the doors open! Hahaha. He has been obsessed with Thomas since approximately 18 months of age. For YEARS he had to either hold a train in his hand or even the backside trading card that the trains came in. We even had it written into IEPs that he could hold it during lunch and other downtimes as long as he left it in his cubby during learning time. There are actually great ways to use Thomas to help him learn. Dont fight it. Let him enjoy it!

Susan - posted on 09/07/2009

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My son is obsessed with anything Cars i never want to here Life is a highway again. It changes every year or so it was Thomas for along time we just learn to go with it. He is happy and it gives us something to do together look for books or games. We got a wii system and he plays games with us after school. It also helps with setting goals, he looks foward to reading time if its something he can relate to.

Cmquist - posted on 09/07/2009

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My son was obsessed with blocks and Thomas too, now he is 9 and its coins , flags and his factopedia. I "fight " the obsessions to a degree. My goal is how he functions as an adult. He gets so stuck that if I don't constantly redirect conversation or make him leave his coins at home etc. he will not stop but in fact get worse.I literally have to say if he asks me again how many countries have I been to( and he knows the answer ) he will have a time out.If he corrects himself he gets a reward, a few chocolate chips. It has helped, I have to even forewarn family and friends not to feed into his obsession. They think I am being strange but not when they realize if they get him on a certain topic he will not stop until they almost go mad.

Jo - posted on 09/01/2009

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My son is coming up to being 17 years old this month..his obsessions with thing started very young..mostly with Thomas the tank engine & then his dvd's..mostly the cartoon network kind, but as he started his adolescence his obsessions have been getting far worse..collecting small bottles of fizzy drinks in his bedroom & making "experiments" with them by pouring one soft drink & mixing it with another..we have been trying to stop this & clear his room whenever he is not at home.. well if he was at home (after school) there would be terrible conflict.. & to make matters worse he is now starting to steal our milk from the fridge, fruit & anything he wants he just grabs & takes to his room.. its become terrible & we are on edge with his mood changes & aggression towards us when we try remove these things..does anyone have any suggestions on what else we can do?

Jen - posted on 08/31/2009

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sound funny that some obsessions turn into a job down the track. sound silly .I have a nephew how is 18 and soon be working at a wheel bin deliver due to he loves watch the bin trucks . he been like that for 2 right though to 18 . we didn't stop him . My son when through a lot as well due to his got autism and he in to Pokemon and sponge bob.plus he play on the computer and video games. . One thing he might be a game programmer something like that . right now I spend about $900 on Pokemon which he has under my bed but he brings them out when he does his home and count them . he even writes stories about them . some children tell him Pokemon are dumb but what which upset him but they don't know what is Pokemon themselves . so the joke on them. the teachers are thrill due to they use it to teach him social skill in books.use it to help him you never know he might want to be a train driver or he might change,

Stacey - posted on 08/29/2009

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My son also LOVES Thomas, did you know that Thomas the Tank has become the official mascot or something for Autism? I was stoked to hear it, there are also some Thomas on line games. I wouldn't fight it unless you think it is a really big issue that is holding him back.

Amanda - posted on 08/26/2009

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My son LOVES Thomas the Train - I totally know what you are going through... the music on the DVDs over and over again... My son knows ALL of the trains; even in a coloring book with out colors he knows who is who. I figure the obessession is ok as long as he isnt hurting anyone - driving us crazy some days but if he is happy I am happy the less meltdowns the better. My son will be 3 in Sept so I am sure he will be moving on to another obessession sooner or later. He started out around a year old with Bob the Builder.

Lindsay - posted on 08/12/2009

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hi my little boy 4 years old he loves sponge bob thats all we seem to watch in our house but it keeps him calm so i dont mind too much.

Becky - posted on 08/11/2009

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As many have said my son's obsessions change frequently also.. He has Sensory Intergration, ADHD and PDD.
But I usually try to keep him from them(which always ends up in a endless battle) but after reading all these posts I may try to just let them be! But to be honest some of them just drive me sooo crazy I think I am going to have a nervious breakdown! It is comforting thought to know that I am not alone!

Sandra - posted on 08/11/2009

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hahahahahaha lisa,

well my son has his own obsessions... we just deal with them. even though it's really hard sometimes i must admit :s
as he gets older, he'll develop other obsessions, but if you kinda ignore them, they'll grow over them..
do not try to fight them, it won't help...
just scream to yourself, that's what i do every day :D

san xx

Denise - posted on 08/11/2009

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Don't fight it. Let it be. Because like everyone has said the obsession will change over time. I have a 12 yr old who has PDD which is the higher functioning form but still has the obsession part of it. He started out with lining everything up in a row such as matchbox cars, now he is up to anything to do with the any of the wars like WW2, civil war, revolutionary war etc, and playing the PS2 which I know isn't productive but eventually hopefully he will outgrow that one too. Hope that helped.

Samantha - posted on 08/10/2009

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mine obsession is with plungers and tires i would give anything to have it be something we did not have to be inbarresed about

Jen - posted on 08/10/2009

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Thank you for posting this! My son had Toy story the movie lines down to a T with buzz light year and away. Now he is into Star Wars and his obsession with it has been going strong for 3 yrs now

Lisa - posted on 08/10/2009

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Thank you guys for all the advice. The only thing is that his train thing has been going on for 3 years now, everyone seems to say they will change but im waiting.lol. Im fairly new to this website and it is great, i love hearing that everyone is going through the same thing to some extent. Thanks again to everyone out there.

Lisa - posted on 08/09/2009

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Mine is 14 now & hers have been many also. But she knows what's expected of her. School, homework, dishes, cleaning her room. Our local Special Olympics did a world of good. Gave her an "energy release" & she got to be with people like her. There is structure, discipline & praise. All good...

Sharon - posted on 08/08/2009

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That is a tough one because each kid is so different. My daughter is now 15 and she still has things that she obsesses over. Do they use TT as teaching tools in school? Or do they ever use social stories with TT in them? The repeat of the videos might give him a calming feeling because he knows what to expect next in the video. My daughter knew all the words to some of the Disney movies. We would call her our Disney expert. Now she loves the Gameboy and Pokemon games. When she is obsessing over it and driving me crazy, the Gameboy get "misplaced" for as long as I need! Good luck and don't loose it! Your family needs you!!!

Vaunda - posted on 08/08/2009

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My son moves from one to another. When he was little it was Winnie the Pooh, then Toy Story. Now it is constant reruns of CSI and NCIS or video games. He was obsessed with reading at one point and would fly through entire series in record time. If it makes him happy why not? Instead of fighting against it find a way to make it positive. My son used to make all of these noises. I would respond by telling him he should go work for disney! Now he is obsessed with the idea of becoming a CSI person. It was a lawyer. For years, literally! Then, boom, all of a sudden it changed. Just like that. When my son plays his video games and I am around, he has to mute the sound. It is a comprimise. Maybe he will grow up to be the engineer of the train that travels at the speed of light between Earth and whatever planet we wind up creating life on! It IS going to happen in his lifetime isn't it? People are already building and flying their own rocket ships to outerspace! Let him live it, breathe it, whatever he wants. Find ways to add other things to compliment it. Talk to him about being an engineer on the train one day. Do some research and find ways to introduce him to all of the different aspects of a train, using your own personal touch to make sure Thomas is included. Perhaps if your son senses your acceptance of Thomas and his insatiable need to discover him he may be more open to new ideas. Good luck! I can still sing Winnie the Pooh verbatim!

Tracey - posted on 08/08/2009

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I agree with many moms here. Obsessions come and go. Use his obsessessions to teach him (all of my son's therapists and teachers do). set time limits - if he has tons of thomas stuff -only allow certain thomas toys at scheduled time of the day. this will help set him on a play, learn, clean up, eating etc.. schedule. as time passes and his obsessions change, wean him out of it!

Brooke - posted on 08/07/2009

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The 8 yo that I care for is a High Functioning Autistic. He has an obsession with NASCAR. I use that to get him to do different things or explain things to him. For instance at school instead of time outs we have him take "pit stops." He responds well to the racing analogy and we get our point across. He also has a problem sitting still so we gave him a little tire shaped stress ball and call it his "fidget." We let him hold it during group time and it keeps him occupied. His obsessions dont hurt anyone so I see no problem in letting him go with it. You might even be able to come up with some creative ways to use them to your advantage.

Vi - posted on 08/07/2009

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I guess you just have to grin and bear it. If your son is anything like my son he's going to be moving on to another obsession. There was a time when Jesse my son was crazy over Teletubbies and I grew to hate them :) but he got over it and we moved on to another obsession.

Christy - posted on 08/06/2009

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Some days the obsessions drive us crazy, but we have to remember that they cannot help the obsessions. The trick I learned is to try and get them obsessed about something productive or that they can be good at. The obsessions tend to change with the ages too and they soon realize what kids accept and do not accept. My son traded his blanket for a different security blanket. He now carries around a game boy. Very rarely does he actually play it but it gives him something familiar that he can tune out everything else with and at the same time it has actually helped to draw kids into his circle that would not otherwise have talked to him. He has a few things that he carries around that brings in other kids. He doesn't make friends easily so it is good he has something that he can interest others in. As long as an obsession is not going to harm them I say let them obsess. We have so many battles to fight with our kiddos that you really have to pick your battles. obsessions can be guided as they grow so that they are not made fun of and picked on. Like a few others have said obsessing makes them good at something, and can lead to a career.

Sasha - posted on 08/06/2009

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In reality, this is very difficult for an aspie to understand. They are all or nothing. If you lock away the object of an aspies obsession, they will find a way to get to it, no matter what the risk. For an aspie, there is only now. What happens at school is irrelevant. What is going to happen in ten minutes is irrelevent. this is what is at the core of the obsessions in the first place. They can fill their minds with them to the exclusion of everything else, and when they are allowed even when not activly persued, the mind will be filled with them to such an extent that a lot of what they might be doing with their minds cannot take place. With an aspie, yes is forever, no is forever, right now is forever. My son taught my daughter to undoo her car seatbelt when she was 1 1/2, how to open the stair gate when she was 2. There are no implications, no seeing the bigger picture. The average 9 yr old understands that a baby in a car needs to have a seatbelt. A 10 year old can see that the stairgate is there to keep their baby sister safe. I asked him about it recently. Why he taught her. Why he didn't realise it was a bad idea. If he would do the same now at 16 yrs old. He taught her because he could, it wasn't a bad idea because it wasn't an idea, and yes he would do it again even now that I have talked to him about it so many times. I have yet to find an effective way of locking somthing away from any aspie that they cannot find a way round, and then it becomes an unnessary battle. If it isnt there, it isn't an issue.

Amy - posted on 08/06/2009

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I would set limits. Allow him a 10-20 min span after school or after dinner to stim his heart content. Some kiddos do this to unwind. He needs to learn that school is not the time or place to be playing with toys, nor is dinner time, homework time, etc. Put them away in a locked closet when it isn't down time.

Shawna - posted on 08/06/2009

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My son is into something i bit different. He really likes to kick around stuff, (stuffed toys, clothes, balls.) He does this alot during the day and when i try to direct him to do something else,,, i am trying to get him to play with toys properly which he has no interest in at all!! Ur lucky your son will play with thomas :-)
My son doesn't play with any kind of toys besides balls which he just kicks around. I did try to put a stop to this but it is just so hard, he freaks out all the time. I think he is stimming when he does this. Before he use to stack things,,, shoes,blocks, cans then it was the dryer now its this kicking stuff. He still does the other things occastionally but its mostly kicking things or throwing things. Mostly rocks when he is suppose to be playing outside.

[deleted account]

You could restrict his access and use it as a reward tool. But there is also a more important aspect to consider. Thomas along with The Wiggles, Dora, Sesame Street etc. are geared towards the pre-school crowd. Yes, he's only 5 and it is still socially acceptable to love Thomas but what if he's still obsessed with it when he's 7, 10, 14...? It will not make him look bvizarre when he starts talking about Thomas, he will also not be able to socially engage with peers. I was working at a middle school for children with high functioning Autism and one of the 12-year old boys still loved Thomas. He could not talk about appropriate topics EVEN with his classmates who all had Autism! Our kiddos will always have problems with their social skills (or better - lack thereof) so why add to it? Maybe you can start steering him towards real trains via books, DVD's etc.

Becka - posted on 08/05/2009

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My 9 year old son was a Thomas the train then we went to match box cars and to riding his bike now to the x box and just throwing the football to watching the same movies over and over it hard to handle sometimes but I just deal with it since I know that at some point it will be something eles soon.

Karen - posted on 08/05/2009

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My 6 year old son is totally obsessed with vacume cleaners, hand dryers, lawn mowers and many other things. So far I have let him be on most things, however some of his obssesions have been really annoying and I have had to break the cycle, which is hard and stressfull. But I have won!

My son wants another toy hoover for his birthday, making the number he already has up to 7!

Lori - posted on 08/04/2009

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I AM! not with thomas the train, but SPONGEBOB! I totally understand where you are coming from. I learned to try and incorporate the obsession (thomas) into activities. try and make it into a game or learning experience! you are not alone! I even dream about spongebob! AAAHHHH!

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I agree with Jennie completely. The obsessions do change. My son has had a few of them. He'll be 5 this month. I find that if I let him just go gung ho with it, it allows him to get it out of his system. Providing it's safe of course. Right now it's X-BOX. Not very productive, but I think it's just something that they have to do. My husband is undiagnosed but we're sure he is somewhere on the spectrum. His obsessions have also changed throughout the years but there has been one constant one...computers. He has done extremely well in his job. So they can be a good thing too. All I can say is try to ignore the annoying ones. You never know where an obsession can lead annoying or not. He could go on to make a good life for himself. I mean look at Temple Grandin. She is an adult with Asperger's. Her career choice is a little on the weird side, but that was here obsession. She's happy and self-reliant, Isn't that what we are all after.

Jennie - posted on 08/04/2009

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We deal with obsessions. I have 3 with Autism and each has a different one. Right now Spencer is into Star Wars, Taylor loves Monkey Ball and Addi is into Jonah the Veggie Tales Movie. The obsessions have changed through the years. We also watch the same videos over and over. You learn to tune it out.

I just let them be obsessed. There is really nothing you can do about it. I do use the obsessions to keep their attention when I am trying to teach a lesson. It also works for a reward to get them to do something they would not do on their own.

One time someone walked into the house and they were a bit overwhelmed. We had 2 game systems going and a video. It was loud, but the kids were happy and behaving so I did not care.

This obsession will pass at some point and time and another one will take its place. It is just one of those things that comes with the territory. The obsessions is also the thing that makes these Autistic kids so fabulous at their occupations. If you can get him interested in something that can actually make him money later on in life, he will be set.

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