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Toddler obsession... worried about autism

(15 Posts)
camperlass Fri 27-May-11 19:43:12

Hi, I'm new to mumsnet and I'm posting because I'm really getting worried about my 2.5 yr old son's odd behaviour. He is completely obsessed with (this is going to sound really stupid!!) telegraph poles! He wants to hug every telegraph pole he sees and kicks up a real fuss if I don't let him. He also builds his own telegraph poles by putting books on end and fanning the pages out - he thinks that the pages look like the wires on a telegraph pole! I know it sounds like a harmless thing and probably is just a phase but it's been going on for quite a long time now and it's not getting any better, in fact he seems more obessed now than when it started. I'm just really concerned about autism/aspberger's syndrome. Has anyone else's LO got a massive obsession with something like this? And how do you deal with it? Ignore it, encourage it, or punish it??! I'm currently kind of ignoring it....
Any help or advice or kind words would be much appreciated!

CuppaTeaJanice Fri 27-May-11 19:46:25

My friend's son had a similar obsession with vacuum cleaners for many years. He's now mid teens and afaik has no autistic traits, although he is what you might describe as 'theatrical'.

Pagwatch Fri 27-May-11 19:49:09

I wouldn't punish. I would try to distract.
If distraction causes huge distress then that would concern me slightly.

I am so sorry you are worrying.
Is there anything else in his behaviour that has made you think asd may be involved?

camperlass Fri 27-May-11 19:52:18

Hehe, well I guess I could live with 'theatrical'! My son went through a vaccum cleaner thing about a year ago too. Perhaps it's just a healthy interest in technology then?!

DaisySteiner Fri 27-May-11 19:57:51

My ds1 (11 now) was absolutely obsessed with clocks for a couple of years (from about 2-4yo). It used to drive me to distraction: everywhere we went he would want to look at the clocks, he talked about clocks, insisted on going to look at them in John Lewis, was fascinated by churches because they had clocks on etc etc. He grew out of it eventually and although he's quite an intense child, he's also quite clearly not autistic. Like you I was really worried about autism, but with hindsight I wish I'd chilled out about it and just enjoyed him a bit more. smile

camperlass Fri 27-May-11 19:58:40

@Pagwatch. Well he is less social than some of his peer group, I think. He goes to nursery but he is less inclined to join in than some of the others - although I think he's more interested now in the other children than he used to be. He's VERY imaginative for his age, makes up these little imaginative scenarios about things all the time (which I encourage, I think that's a positive thing I hasten to add!!). He's prone to real fits of rage too, and throws things - I've just had to instigate the 'naughty step' to try and deal with that and it seemed to work for a while but now I think he's realised that it's actually not such a terrible thing having to sit on a step for 2 minutes! All these things I know could be put down to normal 'terrible twos' behaviour though - it's the telegraph poles thing that just seems rather outside the norm.

skybluepearl Fri 27-May-11 19:59:10

follow this link. there is a check list if you are really concerned.

MrsPoyser Fri 27-May-11 20:03:19

As the mother of a child on the spectrum, can I just say that it doesn't have to be a terrible thing and a cause for worry. If he's otherwise developing well and happily - verbal, interactive, affectionate - then just keep an eye on it, not because he might be autistic and that would be dreadful but because if he does have a mind that works that way, there will be things you can do to make the world an easier place for him. My AS ds is in many ways easier to parent than an NT child, and I certainly wouldn't want him to be anything but his rather splendid, eccentric, self.

camperlass Fri 27-May-11 20:06:50

@DaisySteiner. Ah but it's hard to relax at the time isn't it! I end up negotiating as to which telegraph poles he can go and cuddle, I'm trying to gradually wean him off cuddling them (well they can't be very hygienic can they?) and get him to be happy just waving at them and saying bye bye. Everywhere we are he will be looking out for them, eg. at the zoo he doesn't look at the animals he is looking for the next telegraph pole. Perhaps I should chill out and just go with the flow more and relax about it :-)

camperlass Fri 27-May-11 20:14:24

@MrsPoyser - that is such a lovely post :-) He is developing perfectly and happily in all other ways really except for these awful tantrums which he's having at the moment but he is actually extremely bright, his language is hyper advanced and he is extremely imaginative, he makes up these extraordinary little scenarios about things, like the washing line is hungry and wants some dinner, the daisies he calls 'little eggs' because they look like fried eggs! So I know that he is very intelligent, and he is very happy and loving. I know that it is not the worst thing in the world that can happen, I just want him to be happy, however he is! I guess I am probably a bit eccentric myself so he was always bound to be too and I shouldn't worry about it!

EBDteacher Fri 27-May-11 20:27:16

camperlass I think your son sounds lovely! A real bright little individual.

However, perhaps you should move to an area with less telegraph poles? wink

DaisySteiner Fri 27-May-11 20:59:34

I do feel for you camperlass, I recognise that frustration of everything revolving around looking for clocks. I don't recall him wanting to cuddle them though. The telegraph poles round here are filthy and covered with green stuff, I guess you must do a lot of washing wink

camperlass Fri 27-May-11 21:00:25

Hehe maybe I should! He'd just find something else to obsess about no doubt... I suppose at least telegraph poles are relatively safe (until he decides to start climbing them of course!) Did I mention that he is pretty keen on pylons too?!

Hanoigal Fri 27-May-11 21:04:33

Hi Camperlass - my DS (2.7) had a thing about spouts (down pipes?) for ages, including wanting to touch every one we passed. (Most houses have one!) It was from the incy wincy spider I think. It lasted a few months - he still points them out now but we don't have to try and touch every one we pass any more. So maybe it will just pass for you too?

camperlass Fri 27-May-11 21:14:09

@Hanoigal, yes I hope so - funny little things aren't they, getting these ideas. I just wonder what is going through his head half the time!

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