Image by Taz
In today’s world it has become so much more valuable to have your own individuality, and what better time to be on the Autism Spectrum. Watching a child on the spectrum develop, I have seen an incredible sense of self, and independent interest. Less governed by what others are interested in, or think is the “in” thing, and far more influenced by his inner desires, I’ve watched Taz develop his interest in public transport into a whole other level. It’s no longer just about him having a hobby that I support and encourage, despite my urge to cringe every time he gives far too much information about a train he just saw.
He is developing new skills: photography, videography and editing. Information sharing and social contact with others who share his hobby are also being developed, but it isn’t work to him. People who know him now consult him about public transport journeys, showing that he has become known for the skills specific to his hobby.
As Taz gains more followers on his YouTube channel I marvel at his developing talents, both directly associated and peripheral to his hobby. His passion is so strong that his drive to do things associated with his channel is extremely strong. This is more advantageous than a work ethic, because it’s stronger. He may have far less interest in his house chores, and thus they get frequently forgotten, but I can see a great worth in his growing abilities that will make him a true specialist when he’s old enough to join the workforce.
I can trace my support of his love for public transport back to his very early years. Of course my motivation was different then. It was incredibly rewarding to see him so happy. His joy was contagious, and this grew into holidays which involved exploration of public transport, stopovers to see country trains on road trips, and the decisions of holidays made based on access to various types of transport. Even during those earlier times I didn’t dare dream of his future abilities, but I see them emerging most strongly when associated with his passion. This makes me so grateful I always supported his passion.
Don’t get me wrong here. I don’t let him ignore his current occupation as a high school student. He keeps up with his work, and surprisingly, keeps gaining stronger abilities within education. He’s no A student, but he’s even average in areas he truly struggles with now, and of course, excelling at maths as usual. He recently told me he has a huge backlog of bi-weekly videos ready to launch on his YouTube channel, so did I think he should release 3 per week instead. My response was that his being so far ahead would help when he gets overwhelmed with schoolwork. He actually agreed, then seemed satisfied that it would take some pressure off him. I’ve always encouraged discussion and planning for his becoming overwhelmed, and he’s really taking that on board now.
I always used his passions to help him learn, originally using his love of balls when he was a toddler to teach him all sorts of things: colours, hard and soft, high and low bounces, little and big, textures etc. etc. you see, if it was a ball, he was far more likely to learn about it. As those on the Autism Spectrum are so governed by their inner passions, those passions can be used to teach them, drive them and broaden their skills. Those passions can be motivators for things you want them to work on (ie. organise your room and we will go train spotting later), and they can expand their knowledge about how to research and learn. For those who aren’t blessed with an Autistic brain, the same strategies can be used, however, the passion and drive will likely have less strength and longevity.
So in the age of individuality and specialists, it’s a good thing to have an Autistic based brain structure. Feed the passion and you will raise a future specialist.
Check out my awesome Autie’s trainlovers YouTube channel
or on Instagram: @Tazzies_transport
What are your child’s passions?
What skills do those passions involve?
How do you work to support your child’s passions?
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Please be respectful of others at all times. We are all on different journeys.
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