Autism, Making Friends, and Annoying Obsessions

by beagooddad on November 13, 2007

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Pookie is going through some really crazy developments recently. They seem to be coming from every direction and faster than we can keep up with them. One of my favorite ones is the way he is playing these days; specifically the way he is playing with Geetle.

Just today, we sent them into the backyard while we made lunch. I watched him follow her to the swing set where they both did the swings. A few minutes later, Geetle wandered over to the sandbox. Pookie followed her and they played there together until we called them in for lunch.

I’m going to go off on a tangent for a second but it will all make sense in a second.

Pookie has been driving us crazy with some of his obsessions. It seems to be one of the autism characteristics that he definitely possesses. Toys the beep get beeped repeatedly. Songs that get sung once get sung 100 times. Shirts frequently must be blue. It has been enough to force us to do a great toy purge which is something else I’ll write about soon.

One of his big, big obsessions has been Blue’s Clues, this Blue’s Clues to be exact. We were getting really close to making everything Blue’s Clues part of the purge.

Then we noticed something (and this is where we end the tangent and get back to the earlier topic).

Geetle and Pookie spent about a half hour running around the house singing the songs together and repeating the lines together. They were laughing, they were making eye contact. They were playing. They did it again later in the day.

We decided to try to encourage this by working with the obsession. We bought some handy dandy notebooks. I’ve been running around the house singing “Who’s clues? Blue’s clues” trying to get them started. It has worked a couple times. BeAGoodMom picked up a couple more Blue’s Clues videos.

One of the reasons the teachers wanted Pookie in the class he is in instead of the other preschool class is his class is smaller giving more individual time with the teacher. The other class is a little bigger and the kids in there have some ability to play and learn from other kids. They weren’t sure Pookie would be able to take advantage of that so they wanted him to be able to get more attention from the teachers.

Being interested in other kids and able to learn for them is insanely important for child development. Pookie exhibited almost no interest in other kids until very recently. It should be interesting to see where this new development leads to.

Just a quick note, I am almost equally amazed at Geetle’s role in all of this. Pookie was doing almost all of the Blue’s Clues play by himself. Out of nowhere, I watched her completely jump into his world. She played the way he plays not the way she normally does. She happily skipped around the plot of the story as they reenacted it according to Pookie’s lead. She reenergized the two of them when they started to burn out. It was awesome to watch her naturally do exactly the things that Pookie needs. She is such a good sister.

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