Bye Bye Ammaws

We sought the child psychologist’s advice on how best to deal with Raiyan’s obsession with animals as his class teacher once said that we can use it as a way to increase his communication skills. She however advised that it is best that we wean him off his obsession, otherwise he might just grow up and become a 20 year old who can’t talk about anything else but animals. Fearfully picturing Raiyan boring a girl to death on their first date with conversation filled with mammals, dinosaurs, reptiles, birds, zoo, farms, wild Africa, the outback etc etc etc, I strictly followed her advice and this morning as soon as Raiyan left for school, I rounded up all things to do with animals and packed them away in a box .

It was only once I rounded them up (and this is just half of the load as the other half is at his grandma’s place where he spends his weekly afternoons), that I realised how obsessed Raiyan was and how borderline ludicrous it was for me and Jeff to feed into his obsession. Again, to try and excuse our actions, isn’t it normal for parents to keep buying or giving their child something that he really likes? We just couldn’t resist the ecstatic look on his face every time we give him something to do with animals. I think it particularly got worse last year because with Jeff away in Singapore, he would come back with all sorts of animal things as naturally the shops in Singapore had much more to offer than Brunei. Coupled with the guilt of being away from Raiyan all that time, each monthly trip always guaranteed Raiyan at least 2-3 items to do with animals. So it’s not surprising that at the end, HALF of Raiyan’s animal collection looks like this:

One way the child psychologist suggested to put his fondness to animals into good use is if we use it as a reward (this is an element of the ABA therapy). So every time Raiyan does something good or something we ask him to do, we can allow him some play time with the animals. And simultaneously, because we are reducing his time with the animals, hopefully he will start to drift apart from them and eventually forget them. And to be honest, Jeff and I are quite sick and tired of animals anyway.

I did feel a bit sad whilst packing the things away though because I know how much it will break his heart later when he looks for them and see that they are not there. I just have to constantly remind myself that he will be ok, he will live and on the whole, we are doing this for his own good.

Besides, the child psychologist warned that it is not surprising that he may move on to another obsession, so for now I’m just going to focus not on my grief and sorrow but on my curiosity on what his next love would be, and then the next, and then the next.. But along the way, I MUST ensure that these interests DO NOT develop into obsessions by non-stop contunuing to show the many variations of things in this world... how exciting is that! Life is never boring with an autistic child!


PURPOSE:Hoping for more understanding and less judgment from all.

 To show the importances of early intervention and an evidence based treatment to help reach the full potential of the child.

 Offering other parents hope to have faith in the positive progress of their child.

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