Recognizing, Accepting and Making Obsessions Work

April 14, 2006

Once again I find that I am questioning myself as to how ethical it is to write about our son, especially since I plan on including links that'll hopefully earn some income.

But, after an enlightening experience/moment that I'll try to describe as best I can, I can only tell myself that because I am doing this in my son's best interest, as well as the best interest of all other Aspies and their caregivers, family, friends, etc., that it is okay to do.

The funds that we earn from this site are currently going towards Cameron's needs and future earnings are earmarked for him as we believe he's going to need some type of support for life, most likely in the form of a paid caregiver that'll help him to negotiate the more difficult aspects of his day and life.

So, about obsessions...

Cameron has always been obsessed with spending money, so much so that he'll steal from others again and again and again in order to have money to spend.

While he starts out wanting something specific, as we move from store to store the desired object that he wishes to purchase changes rapidly, so much so that it becomes apparent that it isn't the object(s) that he desires but rather it's the act of spending the money that he so desperately craves.

Now many folks will comment that that's normal for kids (and many adults), hence the phrase "that money is burning a hole in his/her pocket", and they would be right, it is very common and normal and many kids and adults do experience it.

The difference is in the obsessiveness of the desire...

When your child wakes in the morning wanting to spend money, goes to sleep at night wanting to spend money, and asks non-stop during the day if he (or you) can go here or there and buy this and buy that and buy this and buy that and buy this and buy that and buy this and buy that literally all day long, it's an obsession way beyond that of "normal".

When your child learns new ways to ask if he (or you) can go here or there and buy this and buy that and buy this and buy that and buy this and buy that because he knows you are absolutely exhausted with hearing the "can I buy" question, that goes beyond "normal" and into obsession.

When your child continually blows through his own generous allowance and then steals money from you and his sibling(s), and suffers the punishment every single time but continues and continues to do it, all so that he can come to you with bright eyes telling you that he has x amount of money and asking if you can take him to go buy something, that is definitely into the obsession range.

Even so, we were still confused by this compulsion to spend money and it was a constant source of frustration. How in the world do you teach your child to save his money when every other word out of his mouth is spend, spend, spend and he has fits every time the answer is no?

What type of future do you envision for your child when you realize that they just plain cannot hold onto their money? When he's not spending money he literally just gives it to other people to spend themselves.

So, you keep denying that it's an obsession and you keep telling yourself that he'll grow out of it, maybe tomorrow, maybe tomorrow, maybe tomorrow... But he doesn't, he just keeps on day after day after day wanting to spend money while we continue to despair and suffer extreme frustration.

And so it went until I read an article about Bill and Wendy Ainscow and their daughter Lisa. This is the 'enlightening experience or moment' that I referred to at the beginning of this journal entry.

Lisa Ainscow has Asperger's Syndrome and she is obsessed with spending money and/or having money spent on her. It's a very sad story about both parents attempting suicide several times, with Bill the father dying and Wendy the mother living. Lisa is 35 now and still obsessed with spending money.

She's also obsessed with shoes, which is another of Cameron's obsessions. When I came across the Ainscow's story the emotions I felt are hard to describe. As I said, it's a very sad story and I'm so sorry that Bill and Wendy were driven to such drastic and tragic measures, but at the same time I was overjoyed to find that there was another Aspie out there with the same obsessions Cameron has.

In some strange way these obsessions of his are easier for me to deal with now. It's like his obsessions have been validated as being legitimate, or like a feeling of commune or comradeship or something, like wow we're not in this alone. I don't know, as I said it's very difficult to describe the emotions and why it even evokes the emotion.

It's like I've come to acceptance of this never-ending desire of his to spend money and that it may never go away and now I'm looking for ways to make it work in Cameron's life, like maybe he might be a Buyer someday or a purchasing clerk or something along those lines, or maybe even a stockbroker! :)

Another obsession, and another story for another day, is Yu-Gi-Oh cards, and Cameron's waiting for me so gotta go... :)

Wonderful Autism Apps / Applications ... and ... some of my favorite books and other goodies

autism apps applications

Books that I'm currently reading

I'm so tickled that authors have been contacting me and asking me to review their new books for them!

For as much time as I spend researching Asperger's Syndrome this website should have thousands of pages but because my son has Asperger's Syndrome I find that the things I want to work on very often are not the things that I have to work on so I'm still not able to spend as much time on it as I'd like to.

As he heads into adulthood (he turned 18 on Dec 13 and yes I need to update some things at my website such as my home page that says he's 17) I'm finding that I have even less time on my hands as I spend more time trying to master the puzzle of how to help him transition into "life after high school".

That's where Autism Tomorrow: The Complete Guide To Help Your Child Thrive In The Real World comes in. It's a guide to help your kids after high school. You'll find parts of the book will be applicable and some won't depending on your child's current age. Although the title implies "Autism after high school" there is still quite a bit in there about what to do before your child hits "real life". But overall a helpful book.

Please contact me if you'd like to send a copy of your book to me for review. I would absolutely love it!

Fiction, Non-fiction, Auto-Biographies, Instructional books, etc. I'm interested in them all. :) And if you autograph it that would be SUPER cool! ;)