Thursday 15 February 2024

Coping with a change in his special interest

Boy walking in a Mercedes t-shirt

Our son has had a special interest in cars and racing since he was about seven years old.  It's really common for children with autism or ADHD to have something they are 'super in to'.  Being very interested in a subject provides Anthony with lots of joy and in some cases it provides comfort in being able to talk about something familiar.  Knowing lots about something takes away fear I suppose. 

When he was younger Anthony used to struggle with watching the actual F1 races.  They were exciting but unpredictable and he found this hard.  Perhaps that's why he often supports the most successful person in a sport.  Some people might call him a glory hunter but imagine the comfort he used to get from following someone he knew would do well.  It was helping remove some of the unpredictability of a situation for him if the same people did well in a race. 

It's been years and he has grown in maturity and his ability to cope with different situations has grown too.  However, when I heard that Lewis Hamilton was moving from Mercedes to Ferrari next year in F1, I didn't know how he would react.  Anthony's F1 idol has been Lewis Hamilton for.. well.. ever.  He has more Mercedes (the Team that Hamilton drives for) merch than all the rest of his clothing combined. What would this news means to him.  Would be continue to support Lewis at another Team, stick with the Team or throw all his clothes out for now being 'wrong'.

Surprisingly no.  He has taken the move in his stride.  His knowledge of the whole area giving confidence I guess.   He was into karting when younger too so he knows even more than most about the sport and progression within in it.  He'll even be old enough to drive soon.  We had to change our car recently when the ULEZ expanded. And as we were looking around for our second hand car at places like autotrader or edmunds we thought about how Anthony may one day drive this next car we get.  

He's matured so much.  There was probably a time in the past when I wondered whether Anthony would be able to drive, or learn to be able to drive.  He was unaware of danger until far older than other kids, struggled with coordination in his hands and feet and many things at school.  Even though he had this interest in racing and cars I wondered whether he would be safe enough to drive or know enough to pass a test.  Never mind all the regular things he would have to do as an adult like handle money.  I mean it's something like almost 30% of adults do not budget - would he be able to be independent with his money?

But as he has grown some of this has come along.  Very soon he used rules well to keep himself safe without initially understanding why.  He's got a bank card and knows how to use it and he's now doing rock climbing so the coordination has improved obviously.  So maybe it should be a surprise that his ability to cope with change has grown too.  I know that he'll struggle and need strategies to help with many things in life sometimes.    But, his ability to cope with change is now routine almost, even with the things he finds most important. And this is something I'm ever so pleased to see. 

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