Let’s Talk About Super Special Kids & Cake Podcast [Episode 004 / Segment: Special Q]
Case study in autism and parenting: I worked with a family where the husband and their two boys were all autistic. All three of them really liked watching a particular video of a plane take off and land. The mother reported that they watched this video repeatedly and would not want to watch anything else. Consequently, the mother was afraid that this would be their only interest.
In this circumstance, what’s important to note that this sole interest can be the basis for further learning rather than being considered an obstacle.
How to Expand Narrow Interests
In the above situation, I started by watching the video with them. Then we started trying to discuss other types of planes, different models of planes and eventually we managed to talk about airports. After some time, we started watching videos of different planes and airports. This family also liked to travel and so the boys started taking pictures of planes. Further on, they started considering airports in other countries and then other modes of transport. Over time, through effort and exploration, I was able to broaden their interests.
This is a really great example of how you can expand on something that starts off as an intense interest. We should also try to remember that typically developing children go through phases like this too; where they’re obsessed with a particular toy and won’t play with anything else or a tv show that they won’t stop watching. I would say that as long as you can get your child to do other things some of the time, you needn’t worry.
A further discussion related to the above can also be heard over on my podcast: Episode 4: ‘The A-Team’.