I recently read that new hobbies of dyslexic children can point to careers, and so as a mom, I assume the same for my child on the autism spectrum. Why wouldn’t a hobby grow into something as fabulous as a career? That chess obsession teaches strategy, which could blossom into forensic detective aspirations, or all that Lego Star Wars movie making could turn him into the next Oscar Winning Director. Who knows? So, bring on the hobbies. (Please find the article below with a full list of hobbies and the careers they can lead to).
Summer break arrives in three weeks for us. We’ve got camps scheduled and a possible vacation in the works, but there is still a lot of down time. And I’m all for down time. Having grown up in a farm town, summers were quiet and long, and its when we were creative and used our imaginations. We had to think of fun things to do. It meant hours upon hours of days stretched into eternity where we were allowed to think for ourselves. Summers were heaven.
That’s not the case with my ASD kiddo, who is now a teenager. If there’s down time, he’s on his phone, zoning out into cyberspace. Or he announces his boredom, as if I’m supposed to generate some sort of entertainment for him at a moment’s notice, competing with social media to keep his attention. As much as I wish I could swoop him up and drag him into the past, pre-technology, it’s the world we live in, so instead, I provide summer hobbies.
A New Hobby for Summer
While I do give him options, sometimes I just take the lead and go for it. We’ve done looming (I’ll try anything), pottery, sewing, painting, and endless tours and local outings. He will go along with whatever activity I’m excited about for a bit, but nothing really stuck until I got him a Polaroid camera and a few packs of creative film. And a hobby was born.
The modern day Polaroid’s are super easy to use and don’t have many features. They’re pretty much point and click, then the film shoots out. And the films are pretty tiny. My son loves looking at things through the camera and thinking about what the final picture would look like. Since film is expensive, he’s particular about what he’ll actually take a photo of, and gets upset if he wastes one. Unlike a digital camera where he can delete whatever pictures he doesn’t like, he can’t erase a Polaroid, and so it makes him slow down and make a more conscious choice. He then collects his pictures, making a display in his bedroom, lines up perfectly for his viewing and showing to others.
It’s also been motivating because he has an aversion to new places, but a new place means the possibility of newer and more interesting Polaroids for his collection. And he remembers to take the Polaroid along everywhere we go, sort of like a familiar security blanket. He can sometimes hide behind the camera, but he doesn’t stay there too long.
As a result of his new found hobby, he’s become more interested in other people’s photos and art. He’s asking to go to the museum, he’s looking online at photographers, and other teenager’s Polaroids. It’s expanding his mind and that was the whole point of the hobby in the first place. To try something new. To embrace the time he’s given over summer.
Please read article “How Hobbies of Dyslexic Children Can Point To Adult Careers” here.
So what are your summer hobbies? Are you going to try anything new? What tools can you provide for your child with ASD to express themselves? I’d love to hear!
**There are countless other Polaroid and camera options and printers available. I’m listing what we have because that is what I’m familiar with if you have any questions. Please use what works for your family! We found our Polaroid here. And check out all the accessories and film options.***
Pick your Camera Color. Black, Pink, Blue…etc.
Find a protective case to keep your camera safe!
You can write captions with a Sharpie on these blank films!
These are some of the decorated film options. You can find them in individual packs as well. Many to choose from online!