Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Perseveration 'R Us

Safety Guy at Burnside Bridge, Antietam Battlefield, MD, 2012.

I love Safety Guy.  He's one awesome young man.  He's a guy of many interests. And, like most people with Aspergers, he has some very intense interests.  He's always had quite a handful of them, actually - he's never focused on one to the exclusion of all else, but rather cycled precisely and intensely through his interests.  I've never really minded his obsessive tendencies, since his interests have all been socially appropriate and a great learning experience.  It actually made it easy to home school him, because I could tailor lessons around his "hot topics." 

(Oh, how many times I've been grateful that his favorite topics haven't been icky, dangerous, or socially inappropriate!  I used to tell my husband, "Just be grateful he's not stuck on toilets and plungers.")

Lately (well, like for the last 6 months) his perseveration has been centered around cars, with a swirling vortex of related topics.  He's been watching 'Top Gear' (UK) a lot, talking about traffic jams and watching YouTube videos of traffic in major cities, talking about purchasing his first car and how he'll modify it (sound system, brush guards, paint job), watching movie car chases, checking out crash tests and specs for every car under the sun, and even writing a script for a cop show.

He's pretty good about changing the topic when I ask him. Sometimes there's only so much "car talk" I can process.  I have to say, though, that I've had to learn a LOT about cars to keep up with him and sound like I have a clue as we discuss his car-related topic of the moment.  And he's even been picking up on social cues related to his perseveration (he'll ask, "Am I boring you?" or say, "I'll give you a break now.").  It's all good.

Because he's almost 15, more and more of his mental energy is focused on that great milestone of teendom, getting his learner's permit and (eventually) drivers' license.  He's actually been talking about this for about 3 years, off and on, but the closer the reality gets, the more he talks about it.  I think it's his way of processing the idea and the responsibility, and I'm okay with the long lead-up to this stage of his life.  In the end, I'm sure he'll be a responsible driver.  Heaven knows he's watched enough PSAs about driving (for fun - really, he does watch PSAs on YouTube).  He's inoculated himself more thoroughly against all sorts of risky driving behaviors than any driver's ed program or health class ever could.  So I'm not that nervous about him driving, at least any more than the average parent might be.

I wouldn't mind a short break from the car talk, though.

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