Children with autism often perseverate on objects or topics. Perseveration happens when someone excessively repeats an action, phrase or topic. Often times when children with autism perseverate they may cause others to withdraw from them socially. It is not like when the child has an interest in something and they want to share and build upon that interest with others.
Children with autism like what they like. When I think back to some of Sydney’s favorites I recall The Backyardigans, Stuart Little, Toy Story, Disney and of course the smurfs.
The smurfs I know are not age appropriate for middle school girls. But she responds to the smurfs and likes to read books about the smurfs. We have started watching Girl Meets World and Austin and Ally. She likes Teen Beach 2, but not enough to give up on those blue smurfs. I didn’t know that she knew the Whip and Nae Nae song. She also said “Oh damn I hurt my toe”. She must have learned all of that from her father this weekend. I guess that is age appropriate right?
I admit I worry about her being teased for liking the smurfs. When kids try to talk with her she often talks about the smurfs and that turns her peers away. At one point I was ready to ban the smurfs. I know that sounds cruel. This perseveration of smurfs won’t last forever. I have accepted her love for the smurfs, but will the world around her accept her love for the smurfs? She even colored her arms blue with a marker and wants a blond wig. It all made sense to me when I saw how excited she was reading her new book and wearing her smurf shirt to bed. She will type sentences about the smurfs and we turn them into books. I guess those blue smurfs aren’t so bad after all.
My goal is to continue to expose her to new things to peak her interest. I am glad she still likes Disney. I told her about the trip and let her know that she won’t see Smurfette and Brainy Smurf at Disney World.
If you meet a child with autism. Enter into their world and discover what they love. They may repeat the names of animals, or describe the lego set in detail or script an entire episode of their favorite show. Just think that this child feels comfortable enough to share their world with you.
You will never understand it unless you live it.