I have two kids on the Autism Spectrum, ages 10 and 11, both boys. I first heard of this term in a progress report from a speech therapist when Nicholas was about 4 years of age. It noted that he perseverated on animals. Guess what - he still does, but has expanded this beyond those days when he had to carry a figure in his hand everywhere we went.
Now he is a walking encyclopedia on all things animals. He wants to check out websites that are dedicated to helping animals, check out sanctuaries and subscribes to a number of magazines - Zoobooks, National Geographic Kids, Ranger Rick, Cat Fancy and Cat Nip to name a few.
When he was younger we got a magazine called Animals and we have subscribed to National Geographic. He is a member of several organizations where we donate money to help animals. They send him tons of address labels, calendars, stuffed animals and more. They want him to vote on issues and send letters to the President. He also gets Defender and Audobon magazine through our donations.
We have over 65 drawing notebooks filled with his drawings of various animals, stories, how they have evolved. His pictures show in detail the steps the animals go through in growing till they reach a certain period. One of his favorite words is evolution. I hear it all the time.
For a few weeks it may be all about Whales and then he goes through the photos from Sea World, looks at all the whale books and gets his magazine issues that cover the species.
Another period it will be jaguars, or meerkats since there is a new show on Animal Planet and he wants to do a show like that someday. He likes the Crocodile Hunter and Jack Hanna. I tape whenever Jack does the talk shows and we like to watch when he does Larry King Live since it is a full hour and Larry always has his two sons on the show.
My son wants to help the elephants and likes looking at the tigers, but not really lions, except ligers and tigons. Male lion and female tiger is a liger and a tigon is a female lion and male tiger.
My other son Matthew is nonverbal and likes to shake papers. He tore some of my bills recently so I had to find a new spot to keep them. He gets all the junk mail and old magazines. He loves to rip newspaper, but that leads to prints all over the walls, tables, stove and refrigerator. You can find him hanging out at the brown paper bag by the stove that is our recycling bag for all paper products. He is digging through there to rip and tear papers.
It seems to be part auditory and visual stimuli he is seeking with this habit. Might seem at times like a compulsion, but he has a few of those already, like having to touch the carton of eggs and squeeze gallon of milk carton before shutting the refrigerator door.
The ribbon dancer is an item that I am trying to locate for him to make this more of a puroseful play item and expand the shaking of paper to something colorful in a ribbon material.
Matthew also spends much time playing several videos over and over, most of the times it is the sad parts of a Winnie the Pooh video when Cassie learns to fly and leave Rabbit, or when Black Beauty the horse is in the stable during a fire trying to get out. Then again, he loves to watch the Rugrats video and listen to Who Let The Dogs Out.
Please share what your child perseverates on and how your family deals with it.