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BellaOnline's Autism Spectrum Disorders Editor


Obsessing over a calculator

Guest Author - Bonnie Sayers

Today upon picking up Nicholas from school he showed me a blue pocket calculator he got from his teacher in the fourth grade. It seems that students and desk sections get points for behaving in class and not acting like wild animals.

Today the teacher tallied up the points with Nicholas's table winning a prize of their choice, based on two items. The choice was between a colorful calculator (blue, pink or purple) or five lead pencils that had erasers on them.

While fondling the calculator on the walk home Nicholas was still contemplating the lead pencils, even though he made his choice. Finally at the front door I informed Nick that he can check out the lead pencils the next time we go to Rite Aid. This sounded good to him, even though he has a collection of lead pencils at home.

Recently I gave Nicholas a packet of yellow post it notes so he could jot down websites he wants to visit while at the library, instead of wasting a full page of notebook paper.

After dropping his backpack and washing his hands Nicholas proceeded to make paper calculators with the post it notes. Then he moved on to notebook paper drawing larger calculators and coloring them blue. It sounds like he mispronounces the word calculator, so he decided to come up with a pet name for his calculator so he would not have to say calculator over and over. I nixed that idea letting him know it was too silly.

Awhile later he was on the floor with his calculator we bought a few weeks ago and the new one. He was playing with them like they were toys. I reminded him that he just bought two new planes yesterday at Walgreen's, but he was oblivious to what I was referring to. According to Nicholas the only thing he could remember about yesterday was playing Sea World Tycoon on the computer.

While shopping at Walgreen's Nicholas had two plane toys that he wanted and went to the register while I was still shopping and running interference with Matthew hitting me and screaming. I doubt anyone noticed the back of his shirt said he has autism since he was skipping around the store screaching here and there.

Matthew either finds a magazine or book that he likes to shake or stands at the electronic doorway stepping in and out of the store. Sometimes you will find him shaking the string to his pants throwing his head around with hair flying all over. The looks we get from observing this behavior is amusing at times, although mostly I am taking cover from being ambushed, scratched or attacked.

When we got inside the car I realized that Nicholas made two separate purchases and tried to explain that he should have his mind made up before getting in line to pay for his items. He could not grasp what I was saying, which led the ride home into a mini lesson on shopping. The new rule was made that he must get in line at the time I do and not go off and pay for his items while I am still shopping and dealing with Matthew.

So today as we walked home and Nicholas went on and on about the lead pencils I told him his choice was made and he cannot go back to school days later asking for the other item.

I brought Nicholas to the amazon site showing him all the calculators listed, which was over 1100. He wanted to look at one hundred of them and sit in the chair to check them all out. Several hours obsessing over calculators is enough for one day. He even suggested that in the next century maybe someone will create a calculator that is star shaped.

To Nicholas a calculator is fun because you get to figure stuff out that you never knew before. I never knew a calculator would bring such pleasure to a ten year-old kid. Just the other day he was trying to describe a screen that two classmates have on their calculators, but I am still not sure what he is talking about. By the touch of a button on the calculator a screen opens up and goes underneath or something like that. This feature is really cool, according to Nicholas.

Nicholas is certainly enjoying his prize and has used his imagination to spend an afternoon playing with real and paper calculators. What will tomorrow bring....

Educational Autism Tips for Families 71 page resourceful ebook for families entering the school system with a recent autism diagnosis. Find out what issues take place over the course of a school day and meet these challenges head on.

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Content copyright © 2018 by Bonnie Sayers. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Bonnie Sayers. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact BellaOnline Administration for details.


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