If you have children, then you know it is pretty normal for them to run from room to room, either chasing siblings, spreading toys from one end of the house to the other, or just going wild and letting out some energy.
This week Ethan has done a lot of running around the house too, except he is running in a pattern from one room to another and either watching the ceiling fan in each room, or flipping the lights on and off a few times before moving on to the next room.
Watching ceiling fans and other things that spin is pretty common for kids with autism. They are drawn to anything that spins… wheels on toy cars, pinwheels, tops, and even people… especially themselves! They enjoy the sensory input, visual and physical. This behavior is actually good for them. One of the issues with autism is a disconnect between the sensory system and the brain, causing people affected by autism to not be as impacted by, or even notice sensory input that affects people without autism.
One of Ethan’s favorite toys is a “Dizzy Disk” that a friend gave us when he was about 3. He loves to sit on it and spin and spin, but he doesn’t actually get dizzy. He also loves spinning in my desk chair. He will let me spin him until my arms and back are tired, then get up and walk a straight line out of my den when he is done. He also loves to be picked up and spun around in what he calls a “spin hug”. When he gets in a spin hug kick, my wife, daughter, and I all spin him until we are nauseous, but he just keeps asking for more!
Now, this fascination with lights is new… He has a small light on the desk where he plays with his iPad, and if he is in the room the light is on. Even in the middle of the day. Otherwise, anytime he is near a light switch it is likely to get flipped on and off rapidly, even when we are in somebody else’s home, or… on an occasion or two… even department stores…
I wonder what he will be into tomorrow…?