My Top 6 Fears: Relating to My Son’s Autism Phobias

Autism phobias aren’t that uncommon. Many of them, though, are probably related to sensory issues or desire for sameness in the environment. Bees haunt my son. As you know, you cannot go outside in the Spring and Summer and not encounter bees somewhere. Anything that buzzes becomes a bee to him. Suddenly, he’s covering his ears and screaming that a bee has stung his ear. Nothing stung him, though. He just heard buzzing. He’s afraid he’ll get stung and the buzzing bothers him.

Some of this anxiety we’ve managed by his use of headphones outside in our yard. We have azalea bushes, so the sheer number of bees make it almost unbearable for him. No amount of telling him that the bees just want the pollen seems to help him. He’s watched The Magic School Bus enough to know what bees do and that they collect nectar to make honey. I’ve told him that if he doesn’t bother the bees, they don’t care about him. None of that matters when 15 bees buzz near him, so in our yard, he just wears the headphones.

My Top 6 Fears: Relating to My Son's Autism Phobias  http://www.embracingthespectrum.com/autism-phobias/

His autism phobia – Bees! This is what he does when he doesn’t have headphones.


I totally understand his anxiety. Growing up near the Cliffs of the Neuss, I can recall the sheer terror of the humongous fire ants. They inhabited the woods across the street from my house and the National Park and God help you if you stepped anywhere near one of their mounds. The swarms. Oh, the swarms! One day, my sisters and I went walking in the woods and some ants swarmed my shoes. These ants, known for their viciousness, will bite the Hell out of you and show no mercy. Screaming in terror, I vividly recall kicking off those cheap black shoes and running for it. In my mind, I could see no way of saving my shoes, but I sure as hell could save myself. that heart-pounding terror I felt, no doubt, feels similar to what my son feels every time he hears something buzz by him. Fight or flight. In that moment, I chose flight. My son often chooses the same.

My Top 6 Fears: Relating to My Son's Autism Phobias http://www.embracingthespectrum.com/autism-phobias/

Giant fire ants from the Cliffs of the Neuss courtesy of http://bwwellsassociation.wordpress.com/

I must admit, I had to concur my fear of bees years ago. It took lots of coaching myself and telling myself to stay calm and still and that they wouldn’t hurt me. I used to run for the hills just like he does.  Wasps, though? Wasps are the devil. You can look at their faces and see the evil. No way I’m waiting for them to maliciously attack me. If I had to list 6 things that I feared, it would go as follows:

  1. Wasps (devil creatures)

    My Top 6 Fears: Relating to My Son's Autism Phobias http://www.embracingthespectrum.com/autism-phobias/

    Wasps are the devil

  2. Giant fire ants *shudder*
  3. Ticks (disease carrying parasites)
  4. Judgement from others
  5. Death (it’ll happen one day)
  6. Driving next to tractor-trailers

I’ve learned to cope with my fears (mostly). My job as an autism mom becomes teaching my son how to cope with his. Which fears are valid (some are) and which do we learn to get past? Autism phobias, because autism itself included patterns of repetitive behavior, become harder to overcome, but not impossible. I mean, last year my son wouldn’t touch a lizard. This year, he not only touched, but held a lizard and now we have a pet gecko. Maybe next year we’ll go outside and he won’t need his headphones

Mama’s Losin’ It

Originally posted 2014-05-08 15:53:56.

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  1. YUCK! Ticks! Double, Triple, Quadruple YUCK!
    I’m thinking they are not even just a fear anymore…I can become rather obsessed by the little parasites…better go check the furry son..again!

    ~stopping by from MamaKat’s
    Nomadic Living recently posted…Whose FaultMy Profile

  2. Came over from Mama Kats. I never encountered “fire ants” til we moved to Louisiana when I was 8, the north just has regular ants so much to my surprise when I felt the stinging of a fire ant I thought my foot was on fire! I hated the itching afterwards as well!
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  3. Autism fears are tough. My niece has Asperger’s, and she was terrified of the hair dryer when she was young. I’m glad you found a solution in the headphones, and your son is able to enjoy playing outside.

    Those ants are HORRIBLE.

    So are wasps. Because you CAN be minding your own business and they will STILL sting you if they feel like it.
    Dyanne recently posted…MousecapadesMy Profile

    • Wonder if you can wear headphone while using a hair dryer? That might be a fun experiment to try. Ear plugs? I don’t know. Squeaker used to hate the hair dryer, too, but now he likes the wind on his face.

  4. I’m with you on all the yucky insects! And I can also elate to the autism fears. My son with autism has fears, but isn’t great about letting me know:). By the time I figure it out, it’s usually too late.

    Stopping by, through Mama Kat.
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  5. Last summer, I open the screen door and was standing there to unlock the door when a wasp or a hornet came down from the nest they had built under the soffet on the porch roof, and stung me in the side of the thumb. I yelped and hurried to unlock the door and another one came down and stung me right in the crown. I swear he had to hit my skull. It hurt so bad! Then, my sweet, stubborn little 2 year old started throwing a fit because she didn’t want to go inside, so I had to drag her by her arm and throw her through the door before they targeted her. When my husband got home, I told him he needed to go kill them or I was getting a f***ing flamethrower. I think he used 2 cans of raid!
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