Ever since Ollie was a toddler, he has always had “a thing”. For the longest time he was obsessed with mega blocks. He would carry a single mega block with him everywhere. It usually had to be a red block that would accompany him to the store, pre-school, church, and to bed. He literally took it everywhere. Everyone that spent time with him was always sure to carry a few extra in their bag, in case he lost the original.
Through the years Ollie has found different things to hold- play dough, putty, a picture, sun glasses, and most recently, Easter candy. I had bought a knock off brand of reeses peanut butter cups and every morning he would come out to the kitchen and request 3 new candies. He’d then carry them around until they melted into nothingness. One day I was horrified to find that he had gotten poop everywhere, only to find out it was chocolate… It was much like the mother in Baby Mamma that makes me laugh every time… only it was I that was disgusted.
Yesterday I found myself in a pickle. Ollie really wanted his usual candies (although he never eats them). We were all out. I was so thankful to be done with the melted madness, but he was persistent. He needed his candy. He wouldn’t take no for an answer. When his care-taker, who happened to be my sister, mentioned going and buying some I was quick to reply that he needed to work through his feelings and I would not be moved by tears. He can’t always have what he wants. And I certainly would not be going and buying something for him at the drop of a hat. However, as he persisted I remembered a podcast I had recently listened to.
In this podcast they talk about accepting people with special needs as they are. The speaker goes as far as to say that we don’t need to try and “fix” them or “change” them. This idea struck a chord in me. For children that struggle with autism, aspergers, tourettes, or other syndromes, the very best thing for them may be to let them have their obsession… their “tic”… their “compulsive behavior”.
Often times, these obsessions are what brings them calm… almost like breathing. To try to rid them of a “crutch” may not only cause them to be upset, but it may also bring more obsession and discomfort to their lives. If the thing that they want most is not harmful to them, I’d venture to say that they’re better with it than without it.
After Ollie had cried and begged for the candy and I had put my foot down saying “No. I will not be moved by your tears,” I had to reevaluate. I found myself loading all the kids up to run down to the grocery store to buy a bag of candy that would melt and never be eaten. As we carefully selected the perfect candy for him to hold I personally found a state of acceptance that this fight is just not worth fighting. Ollie works his butt off every day to learn and grow and develop. He finds joy in the simple things- like holding three pieces of candy 🙂 And if that’s what it takes to give him peace and satisfaction, then so be it.