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[deleted account] ( 13 moms have responded )

This my first post on a message board and I'm a little nervous.

We've had concerns that our son (32 mo.) is showing signs of Autism and we're just starting down the path to get him evaluated. I was reading through a warning sign checklist; it seems to me that they've put so much there that it's hard to tell what's real and what's not. Some of the items on the list seem like age appropriate behavior - I guess the Pediatric Neurologist will determine that? We're waiting for the referral.

My question is this... one of the items on the checklist says "Excessive fascination and/or obsession with dinosaurs or trains (particularly Thomas)" Yes or No.

Don't all boys like dinosaurs and trains and why does it matter if it's Thomas? Just curious why they've singled out Thomas the Tank Engine. I don't understand.


View replies by

Brooke - posted on 01/17/2009




Hi Patty, i believe they are asking about Thomas is because thomas characters have facial expressions that are easy to understand, some autistic children like thomas for that reason as the expressions are easier to understand than on a person. People with asd find it difficult to understand emotions.

I got this idea from the book "a friend like henry" would definately reccomend reading it!

[deleted account]

I definitely agree that a diagnosis goes beyond the obsession with Thomas. That is not the sole reason why I'm worried about my son; he is showing signs in other ways.  I just didn't understand, why the Thomas question?  We've been worried for some time based on his everyday behavior and interaction with others and I just noticed the Thomas thing as I'm doing reading and research, but it was not the trigger that made us want to get him evaluated.



Dusti - posted on 01/16/2009




my son was obsessed with Thomas for a long time (still goes through the phase every once in while!).  I think alllll boys love Thomas, both neurotypical and spectrum kiddos!  We had some friends at our house with a neurotypical 3 year old and all he did was play with trains and ask to watch the DVDs.... but he isn't autistic!  There is soooo much more that goes into the diagnosis, I don't really think it is fair to even put that on an evaulation because there is sooooo much more to take into consideration.  Don't let that question alone scare you and make you think there is a problem, make sure to add up all the other factors as well.  An important factor to consider is HOW he is playing with the trains, does he narrate and create his own stories and voices (or do he echo the lines from a favorite video..word for word)? 

[deleted account]

Thank you everyone for your responses; the information has been very helpful.  I'm moved by all of the understanding, encouragement and support.

My little man loves his Thomas trains. He does get down to the same level as the trains to watch them move, but not all the time. He also stands at the table and pushes them around and he makes them talk to each other.

I'm nervous about what lies ahead for us, but I'm also looking forward to getting my little man in a room with the professionals so that we can better understand what he is all about.

Hugs and good wishes to everyone!


Helen - posted on 01/15/2009




Hi, my son loved thomas too! He has moved onto different things though, for a while it was kid k'nex and now it is bionicles.  I think that it is more that it becomes a 'special interest' and that they become very, very focused on that thing. It can be a pain when you become a major collector of thomas things that they then loose interest.

User - posted on 01/15/2009





I don't know if this will be any helpbut my boy also had an obsession with trains, especially Thomas, and a doctor who assessed Jed asked me if he lies down when playing with trains ir if he sits up. I told her that he lies down, and she said that that was a classic trait in kids with autism,as he is more interested in looking at the wheels going round, than making up imaginary play with the train characters!

I think you're right though, loads of boys get obsessed with trains and dinosaurs....there's just so much to take into consideration, it's quite overwhelming! I often wondered when Jed was being assessed that you could put any child into a room full of professionals, and s/he would come out being diagnosed with autism, just because they were looking for it! But they are actually so thorough, infact Jed had to go twice just so they could be certain of the diagnosis.

I appear to be waffling, sorry...hope this was helpful, and good luck over the next few months x

Elizabeth - posted on 01/15/2009




Hi there, we are also gluten, caesin and soy free.  A huge help for us has been the yahoo group gfcfkids, they send emails directly to you.  We have seen almost recovery with the diet and later supplement therapy, God Bless and good luck, I have been where you are.  love, beth

Paula - posted on 01/14/2009




Hi Patty, this is my first post too but here goes. I have no idea either why Thomas but our son was also obsesed by Thomas and we have now moved onto Lego which I was told at a recent assessment takes over from Thomas in a lot of kids on the Spectrum

Good luck  with getting your assessment done,


[deleted account]

Patty, our best progress came after we removed gluten almost one year after diagnosis.  I know it was overwhelming when I first started out.  What I did was look to people whose kids got better and tried to model what they did.  My children are nothing like they were in 2001.

[deleted account]

Thank you Julie.  My son loves Thomas and it never occurred to me that it may be an issue. The good thing is it's not all he plays with.

We're also trying to cut back/cut out dairy but it has been a tremendous challenge. Thank you too for the website, I'll check it out.  I can't believe all of the information that is out there.

Take care and good luck to you and your family. Happy New Year.


[deleted account]

I have no clue why it is Thomas, but I can tell you that both my boys were obsessed with Thomas at the height of their autism.   It got to the point where I had to remove all the Thomas trains from our house.  

I hope that you get your son evaluated soon.  You can go ahead and start working with him while you are waiting for the evaluation.  A great place to look is or generation rescue.  I removed dairy before we ever saw the doctor and it helped.   There is so much you can do to help your son.

Good luck!


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