Encouraging + Growing Aspie preschooler's "aspie powers

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ellemenope
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13 Jun 2013, 7:11 am

Hi this is my first time posting on this forum, but from what I read I think it will be a great fit for me.

After a lot of soul searching and exhausting research and reflection my husband and I have gone from the painful and backward mindset of trying to "fix" our amazing son to trying to help him identify, enjoy and harness his "aspie powers" for his own advancement. Listening to and reading stuff by Grandin and Robison etc and Aspie bloggers, we're excited to have reached this place but are kind of scratching our heads wondering how to proceed.
My son is only 3 so we're off to an early start I know. But I'm wondering what kinds of things or activities I can expose him to that would encourage him to develop his talents and strengths and branch out into new things that will bring him enjoyment and success as he grows up?
I know lots of aspies love computers, technical stuff, machines etc. Right now I can't tell if my boy would like this stuff. He is really into dinosaurs, animals, insects, trucks- typical kid stuff. He loves books and reading and pictures (is echolalic and has a photographic memory). He also loves music.

What are some things I can do with my boy or give him to do that he will enjoy at this stage? He doesn't "Play" with toys like other kids, he is more in his own world when he is interacting with his toys and I think he has a lot of imaginative stuff going on. I have a hard time finding "activities" that he likes and when I try to play with him I follow his lead but don't really get what he's doing.

What did your older kids like to do when they were little that you think helped them develop skills or helped them find the special skills or talents they enjoy? Or you, if you are an aspie too?



Eureka-C
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13 Jun 2013, 10:17 pm

Although its not really about AS specifically, I found the book Raising Your pirited Child helped reframe negative traits to positive acceptance and gave me a new perspective and vocabulary.


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ASDMommyASDKid
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14 Jun 2013, 10:58 am

When my son was 3 we had a heck of a time finding toys he would treat as toys. He made train track into numbers and letters (most of which you could not put a train on) b/c he is hyperlexic. Mostly he liked letter blocks, that he could stack, sort and line up in autistic glee. We got him a lot of letter/number educational toys. Sometimes for the quizzing electronics ones he would intentionally put in the wrong answer to get the noise for wrong answers. It frustrated me sometimes that he would not play "right" even though I basically understood that play is supposed to be fun for the individual, even if we did not have a diagnosis.

Anyway, I would observe what he likes and what toys would suit that purpose. Based on what you typed, you have a lot of options: toy instruments (if he can deal with the noise), toy trucks, and toy dinos. Maybe he will pretend play with them, maybe he won't. But you can show him how, and that might help. I would try the pretend thing sometimes, back off, and try again. Now he can't stop, but he doesn't use props, so much as role play which is fine. We will work on more play skills this summer. (My son is 7)



Adamantium
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14 Jun 2013, 2:33 pm

My parents did not have a label for me, but they saw my interests as a good thing and cultivated them. That meant I got to go to the Natural History Museum and Planetarium often and had a lot of books. I am sure that was good for me and helped me do well in school despite being a social catastrophe.

Stoke the passion and share in it as much as you can.

One of the great gifts they gave me was to let me lecture on things I had learned. Such a good feeling. And to go all the way to the end of everything you have to say about a passionate interest and get a hug at the end or some new information that thad escaped your research but they already know--what a sense of bonding and shared perspective that builds!

It sounds like you are heading in a great direction.



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14 Jun 2013, 2:43 pm

To me, it almost seems like sheer luck that Temple Gradin found her passion, her "ASD power," as you might call it.

Which means that the best thing to do with your child is get him lots of varied exposure. My son, now 16, simply loves new experiences. Museums are fantastic for him, especially outdoors, hands-on ones. But has he found his "aspie-power" yet, if he has one? Not really. He locks into a new interest for a while, and then moves on from it. His longest term, deepest interest remains game design (mostly old-fashioned, tangible games), although I find he tends to design within genre's that are currently popular instead of really thinking outside of the box. And, really, we've looked into this area with him and the career field is pretty limited, so the odds of him turning into his life's work aren't looking that great, although I certainly am not going to stop him from trying, and I continue to encourage his hobby.

Anyway.

Basically we've travelled with him, taken him places, and tried to follow every small spark of interest he shows in something. Every summer we enrolled him in a few high end summer camps that particularly appealed to him (he was limited in how many he could pick without us looking at cost). Art supplies for his game creations are bought without asking too many questions. He has the best computer in the house so he can program video games (his goal for the summer is to finish and publish a phone app; we'll see if he sticks to it; past summer goals haven't exactly panned out).

But not all Aspies have gifts that can be turned into something extraordinary, so it doesn't make sense to focus on it too much. You can open doors but your child may never walk through them. In the end, he has to find his own passion.


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DW_a_mom
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14 Jun 2013, 2:48 pm

Adamantium wrote:
One of the great gifts they gave me was to let me lecture on things I had learned. Such a good feeling. And to go all the way to the end of everything you have to say about a passionate interest and get a hug at the end or some new information that thad escaped your research but they already know--what a sense of bonding and shared perspective that builds!


Now that you say this, it really strikes a chord with me. I think that is what my son wants more than anything: to talk away and have a truly interested listener! To share what is one their minds and have someone else benefit from it, or at least enjoy it. Which, I admit, is really difficult for me; I simply don't share many of his interests. Such a simple idea and yet not an easy one to implement. Still, really excellent advice and I am glad you pointed it out.

My son is never happier than when kids like a game he has created. He has a real need to contribute, to have his work and ideas appreciated, to feel he has made a difference, and he is so often frustrated in that attempt because so many of the things he thinks are just so far off the wall. This need goes far beyond his games. The games are just an attempt at an outlet, one venue where he has seen some success. It is difficult for him to keep plugging away at it all because the world doesn't give him the positive feedback he yearns for, and at this age he also quickly sees for himself all the ways he falls short of his own aspirations. Keeping that spirit alive is hard.


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ellemenope
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17 Jun 2013, 2:08 am

Thanks for your helpful input. This has given me some things to think about!



Ettina
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17 Jun 2013, 10:03 am

Focus on what he's interested in. If you've noticed him having an intense interest, encourage it, and gently guide him towards more productive forms of it.

For example, if he likes cars (there was a boy on CBC who would drag his Mom around parking lots pointing out cars), maybe he'd like to know how they work. That could eventually lead to being a mechanic. Or maybe he'd just like to memorize make and model, that's useful too.



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17 Jun 2013, 12:06 pm

I think this really fits your question.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=p ... 1HQKB2txgY


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NT with a lot of nerd mixed in. Married to an electronic-gaming geek. Mother of an Aspie son and a daughter who creates her own style.

I have both a personal and professional interest in ASD's. www.CrawfordPsychology.com