Is your child a science buff? If so you likely don’t have a problem prying them away from computer games. Eighteen year old UBC student Ann Stasia Makosnski (not an Aspie to my knowledge) invented a flashlight that works off body heat and a coffee cup that uses the heat of the drink to charge our cell phone. If your child has ‘invention ideas’ encourage them.
Even if the first 500 ideas are flops, they are bound to succeed sooner or later. Thomas Edison failed 10,000 times (I’ve successfully found 10,000 ways the light bulb will not work) and still became one of the most famous inventors of the 20th century.
Aspies like different ideas. Here’s one: carry socks wherever you go. Winter is very hard on homeless people. They often find themselves in below zero temperatures without socks, sometimes even without shoes. Recently a spokesman for the Union Gospel Mission reccomended giving a nice warm pair of socks to a homeless person. This suggests that you see them as a person, and empathize with their predicament.
Carrying new warm sox to give to homeless people could be a great way to change a trip to the grocery store or mall into a giving experience for your child.
Does your child frequently post on You Tube? Alex Plank, an Aspie, developed a website, “Wrong Planet” for teens with Asperger’s when he was just a teen.
This led Plank to pursue a career in film. He graduated from George Mason University with a degree in Film and Video Studies. One of his current projects is Autism Talk TV which can be found at:http://wrongplanet.net/autism-talk-tv/. Plank is currently a consultant for the TV series, The Bridge.
Does your child enjoy talking with older people?
Looking through our local community newspaper, I see that BC Care Providers Association is encouraging anyone who knows someone in a care facility to visit them. This seems a reasonable activity for Asperger Teens, as they often communicate and get along better with adults than their peers.
Does your child have a special interest?
Let’s say his special interest lies in trains; it might be a good idea to introduce them to an association of people with similar interests, such as a railway model association.
Introduce the child to the association’s activities at a show or exhibition. Research and explain how meetings are held, and attend with the child at first to help ease him into introductions and conversations. If it’s a good fit, the child will then have social interaction with people who enjoy his special interest topic.
There are lots of ideas on creative ways to engage your child. Not all of them involve the computer.
If you have ideas, I’d like to hear them. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.