How to Turn the Fixations of a Child with Aspergers Syndrome (ASD) Into a Career
For many children, trying new things and meeting new people can be exciting. For children with high-functioning Asperger's Syndrome (ASD), it can be overwhelming and draining. For their parents, it can be frustrating to watch their child fall back on safe, predictable patterns and shut out other possibilities.
If you've faced this kind of frustration before, try to think of it in a different way. You know what makes your child happy. They have an interest or habit that consumes their energy, but never seems to drain it. They love to talk about it with you and anyone who will listen. If you ever had a question about that certain subject, you would ask your child before asking anyone else.
Instead of looking for ways to distract them from their fixation, start looking at it as an opportunity. It can be the starting point for a successful and stimulating life, professionally and personally, for your child.
Let's say your child loves animals. They can recite the scientific name of any species and details about their habitat, diet, and reproductive cycle. They would probably make a wonderful zoologist. You can help them get prepared for a career by researching the education and skills that zoologists need and finding ways for your child to develop those skills further. You can also research volunteer opportunities at zoos, rescue shelters, and wildlife rehabilitation centers, where your child can build their credentials and meet people who share their love of animals at the same time.
To see how this might look in real life, watch this deleted scene from the 2015 film The Big Short. Hedge fund manager Michael Burry, played by Christian Bale, has just learned that his young son has Asperger's Syndrome (ASD). Michael's research leads him to conclude that he has it as well, which is why he can spend hours reading hundreds of pages of bond prospectuses – something nobody else in his field will do. Although his story ends on a bittersweet note, he has what all parents want for their children: a family of his own and a career that keeps him interested. And, he found these things by letting his mind go where it wanted to go which may be the best thing you can do for your child: stay out of their mind's way.
There may be support groups or organizations in your community with whom you can discuss education and training options for your child. They work with kids with a wide variety of fixations, and they'll offer helpful hints on how you can accommodate them to help turn their passions into a productive and fulfilling career.