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MrAnderson
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17 Jul 2022, 5:26 pm

Hi there,

My (soon to be) 6-year-old son is completely obsessed with flags and countries. He will name every flag he sees and draws or makes flags with legos or on drawing apps on an iPad. I'm looking for any thoughts or ideas as a Parent, should I be encouraging him to learn more? I also noticed that our son tends to go through cycles of fixations, earlier it used to be Numberblocks. Is this common with ASD?



kitesandtrainsandcats
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17 Jul 2022, 5:41 pm

MrAnderson wrote:
I also noticed that our son tends to go through cycles of fixations, ... Is this common with ASD?


As an ASD adult though not a parent, I can say, yes, is not odd for ASD people to do that.
Has been talked about here on Wrong Planet at least a couple of times in various conversations through the years.

I'm just shy of 60 years old and still do that; it eventually settled in to a periodic cycling through a regular set of interests - railroads - spaceflight, real and scifi - boats - kites - airplanes.

Decades ago I found that if I fight the current special interest and try to force progress in a different one the usual result is that I mess up projects in the hobby I do for it.

For me, that cycle is not on a timetable I've been able to determine.
Don't know why the changes or why the irregular timing of those changes.
I have learned to simply accept that that is me and my way of being.


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kitesandtrainsandcats
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17 Jul 2022, 5:46 pm

MrAnderson wrote:
Hi there,

My (soon to be) 6-year-old son is completely obsessed with flags and countries. ... should I be encouraging him to learn more?


As a person who has a low-key interest in flags, my very much NOT impartial opinion is YES! :lol:

Even though son is only 6 this website and related book (at least I think there once was a related book) may be of interest:
I'll present the website via a Wikipedia about it,
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flags_of_ ... d_(website)
"
Flags of the World (abbreviated FOTW or FotW) is an Internet-based vexillological association and resource.[4] Its principal project is the Internet's largest website devoted to vexillology, containing comprehensive information about various flags,[1] and an associated mailing list. The mailing list began as a discussion group in about September 1993, while the website was founded by Giuseppe Bottasini in late 1994, and Rob Raeside took over as director in 1998.[5] Flags of the World became the 56th member of the FIAV in 2001.[1]

Flags of the World describes itself as "...an Internet group, the sole purpose of which is the advancement of the pursuit of vexillology, that is the creation and development of a body of knowledge about flags and flag usage of all types".[6]

Both the website and the mailing list operate in the English language,[1] though there are members from around the world and as such information from many languages is translated and included. The mailing list is monitored by the FOTW Listmaster, while work on the website is coordinated by the FOTW Editorial Director.
"


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MrAnderson
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17 Jul 2022, 5:57 pm

Very interesting, thanks @kitesandtrainsandcats for sharing your thoughts! I'll check out the website as well. I haven't quite noticed a pattern yet either with our son, it's very irregular and at times he will come back to old interests. We've never tried to discourage out of it.



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18 Jul 2022, 7:25 am

When my son was younger he also had an interest in flags. My wife helped him make a quilt out of flags. He still has the interest but it has expanded to include geography, history, and even a bit on languages.

I found it is important to find what interest the child has and feed that as well as guide and expand it. What seems lacking in many children today is that spark of interest that can drive learning.

We found that after supper, we would gather as a family and watch an educational video. We went through many subjects such as professor Fink on Physiology, many Great Courses on various history and science subjects, and even videos on music theory.

Be thankful for passionate interest, it fuels a zest for life.



kitesandtrainsandcats
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18 Jul 2022, 7:32 am

MrAnderson wrote:
I haven't quite noticed a pattern yet either with our son, it's very irregular and at times he will come back to old interests.

That sounds familiar, irregular timing, irregular order.

timf wrote:
Be thankful for passionate interest, it fuels a zest for life.

Now there's some truth on the internet!


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22 Jul 2022, 3:59 pm

I think it's pretty normal. My son is 4 1/2. His special interest is cars. It started when he was 2 1/2 and could identify different makes of cars when we were out for a walk. He loves flipping through car magazines and seeing how fast different makes and models can go. We support his interest in cars. When he shows interest in other things, we feed that interest as well. But, if he shows no interest in something we let go.



Aspie1
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24 Jul 2022, 9:14 am

Sometimes, interest in flags stems from enjoying their colors and designs, rather than anything cultural or political. After all, kids naturally like bright colors and designs. I liked flags as a child too, although my interest wasn't strong enough to become a topic of fascination. I did pick up on patterns, like most European flags being tricolored stripes, most Middle Eastern flags having moon crescents, animals on some countries' flags, Libya's flag being solid green, and Nepal's flag being an anomaly entirely.

Either way, let the child's interest flourish. Have him visit a local library (it's much better than going online!) and read up on etymologies behind the flags he likes the most. It's a form of going out and exploring. Opening Chrome and googling "countries flags" doesn't hold a candle to getting out of the house, sitting on a comfortable library couch, and reading a real book.



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05 Sep 2022, 11:34 pm

Ask him what his favourite country is and buy him a flag of that country.


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SocOfAutism
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13 Oct 2022, 7:38 am

CockneyRebel wrote:
Ask him what his favourite country is and buy him a flag of that country.


Agree having an actual flag would be a great prize. Maybe like a full sized one for a big prize or one of those small parade waving deals for smaller prizes?

Could you encourage deeper learning by helping him research how each flag came to be? For example, Japan's flag has a rising sun on it, but I don't know why. It would be quite useful to know a little something about each country.



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13 Oct 2022, 7:56 am

Hi SocofAutism.

How are things with you?



Mountain Goat
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13 Oct 2022, 9:00 am

SpiralingCrow wrote:
I think it's pretty normal. My son is 4 1/2. His special interest is cars. It started when he was 2 1/2 and could identify different makes of cars when we were out for a walk. He loves flipping through car magazines and seeing how fast different makes and models can go. We support his interest in cars. When he shows interest in other things, we feed that interest as well. But, if he shows no interest in something we let go.

That was just like me at around the age of 5 to 7. I loved cars and trains from a very early age though, and it was rare to find any car back then that I did not know its make and model. I remember an elderly lady being shocked I knew so many as my Mum and I were waiting at a bus stop. I thought it was "Normal".
I kinda dropped cars when I realized there was no way I could own one at 17 and so even before that, I dropped cars. I was always into trains though. Mind you, from an early age I used to take all my toy cars out and line them up on our windowsill in colour form next to each other. Not in car park form because these would be jammed in in rows all touching each other. Whites then yellows then ping then orange then red... I would never allow red and green to touch though, and any cars that had people in them I would have to remove, even if it meant biting their heads off which I did to some racing car drivers that I could not remove! Never did want people in them, and it is only in the last decade that I have accepted people in my model trains. I would be ok with people outside of the cars but not inside them and I do not know why I would do this.
Red and green... The only red and green I will let touch on my trains is red bufferbeams on a green locomotive as the edge of a bufferbeam defines a boarder. Food was even worse. Hated red and green foods touching! Actually any different foods touching and for a number of years I would refuse to eat if different foods touched. I grew out of that in my early 20's when my Mum explained they mixed inside me.

But back to mentioning cycles. For me it was trains, trains, trains bicycles, cars cars trains.... Haha! Bicycles took over from cars when I realized cars were out of my reach. I then went kind of bicycle mad instead but always been train mad! Even to this very day my life involves trains! I tend to make my own now (Model trains) though as I found prices going beyond what I could afford.

Another thing I did not like was having any brand name on my clothes, especially tee shirts. Hated seeing pictures of people on tee shirts and things like that. Mum used to spend ages looking for clothes I would wear as I would not wear anything with a brand name or logo displayed.
Also would tear labels off (Still do if they scratch me) and hated wool next to my skin. I could feel wool underneath a vest and a shirt and would be itching!
Always have to have a bath after having a hir cut to avoid itching and clothes need washing a number of times before I can wear them again as a single piece of cut hair poking me in my clothes would drive me wild!

Trains and bicycles and cars... :D



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13 Oct 2022, 7:48 pm

These focused interests can be the key to your ASD child's future success, so feed them, channel them, and make use of them. Do be careful to not make use of them in such a way that burns the passion, of course. The passion is what keeps your child happy in his life.


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14 Oct 2022, 3:19 am

Yep. I have had jobs in both my two main hobbies, bicycles and railways.



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03 Nov 2022, 3:52 pm

MrAnderson wrote:
Hi there,

My (soon to be) 6-year-old son is completely obsessed with flags and countries. He will name every flag he sees and draws or makes flags with legos or on drawing apps on an iPad. I'm looking for any thoughts or ideas as a Parent, should I be encouraging him to learn more? I also noticed that our son tends to go through cycles of fixations, earlier it used to be Numberblocks. Is this common with ASD?


I used to do a similar thing with computer CPU's back when I was an Autistic teenager, much to the chagrin of people who were unlucky enough to witness my ramblings.

This is perfectly normal for an Autistic person.



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05 Nov 2022, 3:10 am

You could buy some flag based coloring books or print out some flag based coloring pages. Making sure of course that the flags are real and accurate.

You could also buy a set of miniature world flags or work on making flags out of whatever as a fun arts project. Even drawing or painting then on paper ect..