A good apple: My Autistic Son’s New Fixation

A good apple: My Autistic Son's New FixationYesterday, I had to bring Squeaker and Big Guy to work with me. Due to the big bad Hurricane, schools were closed for students and “optional” (meaning you must take leave if you don’t come) for teachers. I had a lot of work I needed to get done, so I took a deep breath, practiced some relaxation techniques, and then brought the kids with me. While we were in the process of doing all this, he developed a new fixation. Here’s how it happened…

The first obstacle was the elevator. Squeaker + elevator = fight. Last time I forced him on that elevator, he waged war on his arms with his teeth. It wasn’t pretty. Of course, to make matters worse (for me), my boss was standing right there as I tried to reason with Squeaker that I couldn’t take the stairs with a stroller. Embarrassing for me. I explained that he was terrified of the elevator, not that he had autism. Anyway…driven by the possibility of watching movies on the computer and assisted by my insisting that I’d hold him the entire ride up, he went with me this time. I praised him over and over on the ride up and then as we got out.

Second obstacle? Just as we’re getting into my room, an announcement comes on over the speakers. The internet is not working because the servers are down due to the hurricane. Darn you, Irene!! Squeaker was not happy about this development, I assure you.

I had lot of paperwork to do that didn’t require internet, but had to go downstairs to do it. So. Elevator? Squeaker didn’t think so.

“We’re done with elevator,” he tells me as he flattens his body on the floor. “We finished.”

Thank God for understanding coworkers. I took the stairs with Squeaker while a coworker took the baby down in the elevator. I had to convince Squeaker this was okay, as he informed me that the baby disappeared. I told him the baby would meet us downstairs, and away we went.

Those were really the only obstacles to the day. Big Guy was in a good mood. I only had to take breaks to feed and change Big Guy and take Squeaker to the potty. Squeaker had some peanut butter sandwiches, fruit snacks, and apples packed, so he was happy. And, as luck would have it, as soon as we turned on the TV, we discovered that his favorite sequence of shows was on. Dinosaur Train, followed by Sesame Street, followed by Sid the Science Kid. He was so quiet, you wouldn’t even know he was there. He even fell asleep on the chair while watching TV.

I’m not sure what happened to his energy level yesterday, but he just seemed completely wiped out. However, I made sure to praise him all.day.long about his good behavior. Seriously. I stayed at work past 3pm and got work done. It. Was. Amazing. So amazing that I took him to The Manager’s store and got we him a KitKat bar and a drink. And on top of the astonishingly good behavior, he didn’t have a single potty accident yesterday. He actually came to me and told me when he needed to go potty. I could totally get used to that kind of behavior!

One interesting development of the day is he got really attached to the two apples The Manager packed in our lunchbag. He didn’t want to eat them. He won’t eat an apple unless we cut it up (information that The Manager clearly didn’t know). So, he took a nap with them. Played with them. Smelled them. I got a video of his general goofiness. It was so cute. But then he wanted to take them in the store with him. And he wanted to hold them in the car. And he wanted to watch TV with them. And he wanted to take them to bed last night. And he wouldn’t get dressed without them this morning.

Who knew apples could be so much fun?
I don’t know how we managed to get him to the car and away from the house without them this morning, but I sure do wish I’d gone back in the house and thrown them away before we left because now he’ll see them again when he gets home and they’re already very bruised. Won’t be long before they’re truly yucky.
But, as far as problems go, that’s one that I can definitely handle.

Anyone else’s children have a fixation others might consider odd?


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  1. Constantly….we went through it with banana's and ended up buying plastic ones (that may work with squeaker). Though Noah ditched the plastic ones soon after we bought them. He'll still ask for a banana when I get them (he does like them) but he'll ask me NOT to peal it. I know this is because he wants to carry it around…so I refuse. It tell him either I peal the banana and you eat it..or no banana at all. Jayden does it too…with different things.