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Obessive collecting

(20 Posts)
oneforward20back Mon 15-Jun-09 11:50:44

Any one got any advice for how to deal with obsessive collecting (and often hiding the things)? He also prefers to collect toys rather then to play with them hmm

Ds has OCD traits, ASD traits, sensory issues and recently discovered attachment and associated seperation anxiety. Have no diagnosis for anything

Normal for these types problems? if I should deal with this how do I deal with it?

magso Mon 15-Jun-09 14:27:43

Hi! Do not know how old your ds. I think collecting is common aong children on the spectrum - but it can be useful as its a bit of a boy thing anyway.
Ds (9 autism and LD) is an avid collector and like your ds collects toys more than plays with them. It has now turned into play - so there is hope! When he was younger it was sticks and stones then twigs, conkers, sycamore 'helicopters' leaves now star wars figures or go-gos.
I limit collecting time - ie we will collect conkers for 20 minutes ( less if its freezing!) this is organised in advance sometimes after an undesired activity ie 'first haircut, then conker trees ( 20 minutes). Toys have to be earnt eg by dressing each morning himself without fussing.
School ( sn) have a box by the door for ds to leave an item from his collections (he still collects leaves or sticks when out to play etc). He is sometimes allowed to bring one item home grin.
Ds first learnt to draw (and understand line drawings as opposed to photos) using conkers (circle with spikes) and learnt basic counting with conkers as counters.

amberflower Mon 15-Jun-09 20:48:29

I have a "collector" too - I think it is probably fair to say it's common in children generally as well as on the spectrum! DS has been diagnosed as mildly ASD, and he too loves to fill pockets with stones, conkers, any bits and pieces he can find really - he calls them his 'treasure' and when we are out as a family he is the 'captain' and DH and I have to be the 'crew' assisting him in treasure collection! But then again several of his friends who are patently NT are similarly enthusiastic about collecting things and I remember being the same as a small child too.

For me DS's collector habit is not an issue because he is never obsessive about keeping things once he's found them - to be honest once we have got stuff home he tends to forget about it. So I handle it by just going with it, being as enthusiastic as it is possible to be at the time ("yes that is a nice shiny stone isn't it, and what a lovely piece of rubber!") and then binning the items a few days later! We have a pile of random items by the front door and every so often I do a little lowkey tidying up. It would be more of a problem of course if he had a screaming fit every time I dispensed with anything, but he really isn't bothered.

How old is your DS and are you in the process of having him assessed given the concerns that you have? I would say that the collecting on its own would not necessarily be a cause for concern - as magso says boys in particular love to collect things, and there's a current thread over on the Development section about small boys and their wierd and wonderful habits and the kinds of peculiar things they squirrel away, so it's clearly not purely an ASD thing. But given the other things you mention it sounds as if it would be worthwhile seeking a diagnosis of some sort...

oneforward20back Mon 15-Jun-09 20:52:21

ds is four and its not so much the general collecting that is the problem its the things like my electric toothbrush, grandad's dvd, auntie's book, the fibre optic lamp, a pair of sissors. I think your post made me think about which bit of his collecting is the problem. And it is this aspect.
But if your ds is still collecting leaves sticks bugs etc there is hope yet. Every stick we pass seems to end up under the front window hmm periodically the stick fairy has a clean up collection to make sure there is enough sticks for the birds and dogs to use grin

DLI Mon 15-Jun-09 21:00:55

hi, my ds has been diagnosed with di-george syndrom, he has sensory issues and ocd traits as well as other things. he doesn't so much collect things all the time but has been known to do it with leaves, stones, anything that pops into his head. He also has other ocd traits like things being in a particular place, sleeping with certain teddys in a certain order in the bed, I think for him it is just putting a sense of familiarity to his life - he doesnt like change very much. he also will ask the same question over and over again because he has such a terrible short term memory, that and the fact he sometimes doesnt listen when you talk to him!

oneforward20back Mon 15-Jun-09 21:11:23

DLI-its drive you mad doesn't it (the repeated question asking) grin

amberflower: 7 on ASD scale with 8 being diagnosed. Will need to ask for a second opinion but it will be easier with evidence from school. Frustratingly getting very little progress, but we have complication of is it behaviour issuse due to IQ or IQ covering behaviour issues? Hopefully school will help to resolve this, they want to get Psyc ed in after the 1st half term when he has started in sept.

magso Mon 15-Jun-09 21:14:55

Ah I see - sort of 'squirreling'.Yes ds does this too - its as if the items have meaning or usefulness to him. He still does this - walked off with my food thermos yesterday to put figures in and out of. I think he saw something unusual and useful about the (wider) lid! He does have a rather unique take on the world! I have no idea if that is an asd thing! ( My engineer dh does similar things when he is problem solving so I guess I am used to it). This side is easier than it used to be perhaps because he can talk now! I just remind him to ask and return the items. He tends to forget both - but he can usually find the item ( assuming he recognises the name I use)when I ask where it is. I think he has 'magpie' eyes!
I think the collecting up of things is more important than the keeping of them - so I too go in for er recycling and returning to nature!

oneforward20back Mon 15-Jun-09 21:23:25

With ds it seems to be the hiding part, its his treasure, secret treasure and it is always in the same place. hmm

DLI Mon 15-Jun-09 21:27:17

ds often hides things when he doesnt want me to find them, and they are always my things! not his or his dads

magso Mon 15-Jun-09 21:31:42

Perhaps the hidden items are special because they belong(ed) to a loved one?

oneforward20back Mon 15-Jun-09 21:34:54

if that is the case how do i deal with it? Say something - he gets agressive when confronted
Raid hidy hole
Ask him if he has seen missing item

Do I bring it to his attention or leave it? And will this carry over to school (we have had a patch were pockets had to be checked everytime we went any where)

magso Mon 15-Jun-09 23:01:04

Bumping for others!
I avoid direct confrontation with ds at least until a rule is established. I am not sure ( he is only 4) - all of those stratagies.
We have to do pocket searches too ( even at 9)- but I think ds motivation is a need to fiddle/play/keep busy and a fear of not having anything to do (ds cannot do boredom). Also I think he genuinly does not realise I can see what he is doing - part of the mind blindness thing! He has tried to sneak toys/odd items to school since starting ( and sometimes school items to home). Our response when he started school was to let him take a toy/item to the playground and either give it to me to take back home to keep it safe or give it to the teacher to look after it ( so ds cannot play with it during school). This was to allow the compulsion in a controlled way.
Hiding things suggests a different motivation perhaps?

oneforward20back Mon 15-Jun-09 23:46:35

the question is what? is it an insecurity thing?

sometimes i wish i could connect his to a computer and press and button and get a repport saying what the hell is going on

misscutandstick Tue 16-Jun-09 07:04:40

DS1 is 16 and still collects 'treasure', usually its shiny things, mostly stones/pebbles, he likes elastic bands, but labels have been a firm favourite for many years. He will cut off the labels from things and 'twiddle' them in his pockets.

magso Tue 16-Jun-09 09:21:52

I often wished I could have a sneak peek at ds thinking too grin- especially when he was younger. When ds was little we (or rather the professionals around us) put a lot of things down to attachment and security issues but as he has got older it has become clearer that many issues are sensory or spectrum related. At 4 it is so hard to tell what is what!
I suspect it may be difficult to control or stop his hiding (if it is a compulsion), so perhaps asking and 'discovering' ( raiding!)may useful.
Sorry I have not been much help!

mumslife Tue 16-Jun-09 13:53:00

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

DidEinsteinsMum Tue 16-Jun-09 18:25:38

so how do you deal mumslife?

5inthebed Tue 16-Jun-09 18:29:25

DLI My DS2 (ASD) once hid the "Y" key from my laptop. Took me four days to find it hmm

DS2 collects stones. He will start to collect stones as soon as we leave the house, I often find stones in his shoes/pockets/nappy. One of these days I'm going to forget to check his pockets and going to kill my washing machine.

DidEinsteinsMum Tue 16-Jun-09 19:21:13

lol, yep often find stones at bottom of machine - have got so used to wierd clancky noise machine makes it doesn't even register any more.

mumslife Tue 16-Jun-09 21:10:06

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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