This article was originally published on the College Park Patch as part of the weekly column by Gretchen Schock, Parenting on a Tightrope.
Most kids at some point in their lives have a collection of something: Polly Pocket dolls, Pokémon cards,
stamps, and so on. A lot of adults have collections as well. At one
point my mom collected little pig figurines that aligned the top of a
dresser in her house. (Thank goodness that phase is over!)
The difference between neurotypical kids and kids on the Autism Spectrum is that, AS kids tend to be obsessive about their collections.
There was a time when L would collect “treasures” on our walks —
random things he would find that would interest him. Shiny rocks, a
hairclip, bottle tops … there never seemed to be any rhyme or reason for
what caught his eye.
But God forbid you even think of throwing them away!
Curled on the couch, in a lull between reading stories, I asked my
youngest son, Z, “Do you think at some point you would want your own
I am shocked by how fast Z answers with a firm, “No!”
“I’d be too lonely. I’d miss L. And I can’t sleep without his counting.”
“What do you mean? His counting?” I asked, rather perplexed because
this is the first I heard of counting happening after I tuck them in.
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