Obsessive empathy for inanimate objects

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Nerddette
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21 Mar 2006, 4:02 pm

My 12yo son, David, has Aspergers. He also has OCD tendencies (like bookmarking every webpage exactly 6 times and taking a certain number of steps when he walks).

He told me last night that he feels emotion for inanimate objects. Some examples he gave include:

* If he drops a food wrapper he thinks the wrapper will be upset if he doesn't put it in the bin.

* If a choc chip falls off his biscuit then he will put it back with it's "friends".

* He sometimes feels sorry for food when he eats it.

* He is obsessive about his stuffed animals - if they fall off the bed he apologises to them.

I've never noticed these things (except the last one, which I just thought was sweet) and as far as I know none of these things has impacted on his daily life (he certainly eats enough food!).

Do you think these are Aspergers traits, or OCD traits?

Do you think they could cause concern in the future?

Has anyone else had their Aspie do similar things?

Nerddette



CockneyRebel
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21 Mar 2006, 5:17 pm

You've got my Number! At the age of 31, I find myself apologizing to my Die-Cast Routemasters about the December 9th decision of Ken Livingstone and TFL, and I tell them not to worry, because I have faith that things will reverse themself, do to the Save the Routemaster petition that's still being hosted online.



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21 Mar 2006, 5:19 pm

My 13 year old David does the same thing. He's dx'ed with PDD but no OCD so maybe it is an aspie/autie thing.

I think its cute that orange is his favorite color because most people don't pick orange and he's worried it is lonely.

I don't think it will cause problems in the future?

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21 Mar 2006, 6:05 pm

CockneyRebel wrote:
You've got my Number! At the age of 31, I find myself apologizing to my Die-Cast Routemasters about the December 9th decision of Ken Livingstone and TFL, and I tell them not to worry, because I have faith that things will reverse themself, do to the Save the Routemaster petition that's still being hosted online.


Online petitions are a gigantic waste of time that no-one pays any attention to. 'Slacktivism', I think it's called. However, it is sad to see an important piece of history go even for a horrible city like London.



TheBladeRoden
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21 Mar 2006, 6:20 pm

I verbally abuse my computer equipment a lot :o


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Aspie1
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21 Mar 2006, 7:13 pm

Wow, the title of this thread describes my childhood perfectly. I had a stereotypical lack of empathy for people, yet I could understand how my toys felt perfectly. Each and every one of my stuffed animals (I had 7 of them) had a detailed life story from before it met me and the other toys. I talked to them for hours, even trying to convince the Dog not to chase the Rabbit. The interaction with my toys seemed far more rich and satisfying than all the kids in preschool put together. I guess that's pretty typical for an aspie kid.



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21 Mar 2006, 8:10 pm

Nerddette,

Speaking as an older Aspie I've been there and done it around that age. Your son will outgrow it in a year or two.


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Young_fogey
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21 Mar 2006, 8:18 pm

Ditto. It's classic AS.



Nerddette
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22 Mar 2006, 3:44 am

Thank you so much everyone! I don't even mind if he doesn't grow out of it as it doesn't impact our lives in a negative way ... I just wanted to make sure it wasn't likely to manifest into something less manageable. He's normal! Well .. in an Aspie kinda way. :D

Nerddette.



parts
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22 Mar 2006, 10:24 am

I still feel sorry for things like clothing that doesnt get worn enough,bits and pieces of broken stuff(it just needs so help gettin fixed},food that will go uneaten,especally old houses which just need a little fixing to make them happy again.



rhubarbpluscustard
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23 Mar 2006, 10:01 am

I used to have that. When I was about eight and doing maths problems I didn't like to cross out numbers I'd carried because I felt sorry for them. I also hated to throw anything away. I'm now seventeen and a half and have completely outgrown the tendency.



ed
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23 Mar 2006, 6:36 pm

I do this a bit. Even rocks and stuff. Of course I know that they are inanimate, it's just fun to pretend. They provide company in a world where that can be a scarce commodity. :lol:


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23 Mar 2006, 11:42 pm

Still feel sorry for somethings...especially if they are neglected. My dream house was never the mansion on top of the hill...but the neglected, vacant house down the road. Same thing with cars....couldn't care less about that shiny new car...show me the one sitting in the weeds or up on blocks in back of the house.

Obsessed about the stuffed animals...I remember that as a kid. I even named a some of my matchbox cars. Sad when I saw toys broken by other kids even when it happened by accident.



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24 Mar 2006, 2:11 am

I often feel sorry for the old, used Dishes that are on display, at Value Village. I want to take them all home with me, where I know that they'll be happy.



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24 Mar 2006, 12:35 pm

Nerdette,

It could be both AS and OCD. I observe the same behavior with my 12-year-old son, but his is with rocks and stuffed animals; no "food empathy" fortunately.

I also did very similar things as a kid, and often still do with houses, cars, and even neglected headstones in a cemetary. As with many Aspies, there is a justifying or rationalizing thought process behind what we do...even if it doesn't make sense to NT's. Mine just simply boiled down to: "You just never really know if it's truly inanimate, so it's better to be safe than sorry." Of course, the Toy Story movies didn't help this at all! :D

I'd wager that his empathic behavior is primarily the AS, since many of us Aspies seem to have a small sampling of mulitple so-called disorders like OCD, ADHD, bipolar, etc. However, his urge (or need) to do things multiple times certainly seems to fall into the OCD realm. On the other hand, simply counting things may be AS and not be OCD. Counting things comes naturally to some Aspies.

Hope this helps. Best of luck!

SunDevil