Saturday, October 24, 2009

His Obsession? Knowledge!

From all the things I've read and heard, Aspie's are supposed to have some sort of obsession with something. There is usually some subject, toy, game, or sport that people with Asperger's are obsessed with. This is the thing that they will talk endlessly about not seeming to notice when the other person is bored or has lost interest.

With my boys it is interesting. While Thomas seems to have had an obsession with piano, maps and atlases, my husband--computers, but I never really figured out what obsession MJ had. It seemed like his obsessions would change week to week.

Like one week all he wants to talk endlessly about is science experiments, but then the next couple of weeks it's medieval times, weapons, castles, knights, and more. Then another week it is rocks and minerals. Later on it is storms and weather. Or this last week it has been every single detail about fencing. Seriously, he will spend a week telling me every single detail about the "topic of the week" as I call it, and he will follow me around going on and on and on. What are the rules? What are the positions? What are the points? What do they wear? He will let me know everything and by the time he is done I feel like some sort of expert in the subject matter that week.

I've found it very interesting that he has never really had one great obsession like all these books or doctors describe. Why is that?

Well, the answer finally came this past week. We were in a meeting with the school principal and the school's psychologist, and I was mentioning this to her. It seems as MJ has been very bored all this year and keeps asking me when he is going to learn anything new. I've been concerned because he has been coming to me telling me he didn't understand why everything was so simple. He felt like he should be learning harder things. I was describing how MJ is constantly seeking out more information and trying to get his hands on every ounce of new material he can. He's focused on the history channel, the discovery channel, or he's reading everything he can about his "subject of the week". She turned and looked at us and said, "No, I think his obsession is knowledge. It seems like he obsessed with learning as much as he can as fast as he can."

How interesting is that? Seriously, I was shocked that I didn't realize this before because it was so obvious. Obvious, but strange to me that someone could have such a broad obsession. Where that leads us, I don't know quite yet, but MJ is destined for something truly great.


Hartley said...

Hi there,

I have to tell you that our boys would just adore each other!

Gabriel has an "obsession" with Lions, true to some extent (but mostly it is a "stim" of sorts on a stuffed lion to soothe himself; example being he wants MORE AND MORE stuffed Lions, but doesn't need more knowledge of them), but he is really what we refer to as a "Fact Collector".

He isn't "obsessed" with knowledge as much as he is collecting information, storing it and recalling it at will--usually referenced by subject, not alphabetized like the rest of us. He lives on facts.

I have a feeling your little kiddo is the same. :)

My hubby is the same too (and Gabriel is adopted--further proof that "you get the kid you were supposed to have" regardless of bio/adoption). My youngest, bio kiddo, is the same.

They move from obsession to obsession because they are addicted (or obsessed) with the challenge of a new skill coupled with the feeling of mastery. Just as you feel like you have become an expert, my suspicion is that your son feels the same way too--and each subject of the week provides another dose of that feeling.

My hubby has learned to play harmonica, speak Korean and Mandarin, Beat Box (don't make fun!), play guitar, Yo-Yo like a professional, collect Football cards, and just about any other hobby you can think of. All in a matter of months before mastering and moving on. LOL

Ok, I have written enough here. I hope you are able to see your son's "obsession" as being a little more complex than just knowledge. I am betting he likes the QUEST as much as the conquer.

Hope all is well at your house,

Smocklady said...


Your perspective on your son, "MJ is destined for something truly great," is heartening. Thank you for your post, and your insight.

best regards,

Kassiane said...

You commented on my blog and I followed you on over.

Knowledge...isn't a bad thing.

Your kids just may be awesome. Just maybe.

Anonymous said...

How did you choose the school?

Becca said...

Miki---This school was actually just our neighborhood school. We had our boys in a school a bit of a drive away, and it was like a magnet program for the gifted, but it wasn't working out socially and it wasn't the best situation for our oldest, so we moved back to our local school. Since then they have been working really hard to make things work.