Monday 6 November 2017

Could my autistic son's obsessions help him in the future?

No one knows what the future holds. We can plan and have ideas, but things can change and develop, or sometimes things don't progress like we hope.  And whilst I can see an endless list of opportunities and possibilities for our neurotypical daughter, I'll be honest, I often struggle to see the same thing for my boys. But sometimes, I have a thought, and my latest one was about Anthony.

All autistic kids are different, just like all other kids are different.  They all meet some or all of the 'triad' of impairments' that make up an autism diagnosis, but many have additional comorbid (commonly occurring) conditions - like Anthony who also has ADHD.  Some kids make more progress as they grow older, some less.

I had a very hard time last year when we considered if David needed a different school and was presented with a view of the future I felt uncomfortable with.   Whatever it holds, we will be there for him.

David's older brother, Anthony, is also at the point where we are considering a new school.  We are now looking at secondary schools and this brings with it the whole idea of exams, qualifications... a career?

Did you see the Chris Packham programme on TV a few weeks ago? It was brilliant.  Chris said in the programme he wouldn't be where he was today without his Aspergers and it's clear to see that his naturist obsession (can I call it that Chris) has played a big part in his career.

And I wonder, at a time I'm thinking about secondary and future education for Anthony, could this be the case for him?  After all, isn't linking what you like doing with your job what every one wants?

Anthony is currently obsessed with motor sports; Formula One,  GP2, Formula E, Formula Ford, Le Mans. He's into the lot.  He watches and now participates in karting races and loves it. In fact this interest in motor racing means he can now easily do things on his kart like change tyres, check their pressure, start the engine.  He knows where the brake disc and pads are and how they work.  With a bit of support he could potentially start sourcing the spare pieces we seem to go through.  Anyone in the know will know track rods are constantly getting bent in race collisions.

He has an excellent memory.  Maybe he'll get into commentary?

School and education is important but it's not always easy to find a place where my kids fit.  Maybe Anthony will end up on a vocational course that fits with his motoring interests.  We think he will need a small educational environment as he goes into secondary school, maybe home study will suit him? He might get more interested in all the mechanics or components.  Perhaps he'll get into manufacturing or lean management?

I guess the truth is - who knows?

When I had just entered my teens, I adored marine mammals. I was given and still have a Blue Planet book.  I was particularly interested in Manatees, which at the time were endangered and at one point Dad said maybe I'd like to be a marine biologist?  As it would unfold, the idea of autopsies along with a terrible set of sea legs meant this was not the future for me.

But if Anthony can be interested in topics enough to want to learn about them and want to 'do them' on a daily basis, then surely that bodes well for his future.

Does your kid have an obsession?  Can you see a future career in your kids interests?


  1. I find it very hard, attempting to look into the future. I think it is because the information we were given on diagnosis was so bleak. But I agree that if we can Harness their interests we never know where they can go! Great post 🌟 Thank you for linking up to #ablogginggoodtime 🎉

  2. I think it's always wise to stay open minded. My son says his happiest years were at a special college where he went from 16 to 19. He had never been interested in arts and craft, yet this is what this college was based on. It was set in an old glassworks and they did still do glass blowing and etching, along with basket weaving and many other art like subjects. When he left he went on to do a degree (uncompleted) in Accounting!!

  3. I think about this a lot. My son is hugely into trains and spends a lot of time designing trains, logos, route maps, etc on his computer. He is showing some aptitude for it, so I have just booked in a tutor to help him with the principles of graphic design and familiarise him with some software that he will be able to do more with. He might not end up as a graphic designer, but we may as well use the motivation and help him grow such useful, transferable skills. And most importantly, I think he'll love it :)


  4. I like thinking this way, focusing on abilities and interests. An interest in motor sports sounds great! Maybe he'll be building racing cars? :-)
    My Penguin hasn't really (yet) got any interests that are easy to link to a future profession as such. But (to my delight) he is showing some interest in photography, so that might be something to work on. He's also got a fascinating capacity of remembering certain things, and if that ability could be put to some kind of fruitful use, that could be great, too.



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