My son turns 14 in March and is in his second year of homeschooling. We are doing the homeschooling during the Middle School Years. He is considered high functioning with deficits in comprehension, social cues, idioms and obsessions. For about 17 months now a former feral cat from outside has been inside. This is because he broke a leg and I invested a lot of money in this cat.
My son is fixated on the cat - considers the cat his best friend. The minute the cat wakes up my son is right there following him around. In the morning the cat goes in for about 15 minutes since my nonverbal son on the spectrum needs to catch a bus and gets up earlier.
He follows the cat around the kitchen when they retreat from the bedroom. He gets on his knees and rubs his face on the cats face. Yesterday I caught him with his cereal bowl on the floor and milk container being held for cat to sniff. He tells me that he was showing the cat his breakfast.
For dinner I allow him to eat on the couch since other son touches food, stands at the kitchen island watching you eat, makes noises and is loud. So to keep the peace he eats in the living room. This is usually the time the cat wakes up and is sniffing the plate. Tonight my son could barely move on the couch because the cat was lying down and he did not want to disturb him.
The latest accommodation my son has made is to put the volume on low or mute so that the cat is not disturbed and to use the closed caption. When the cat is sleeping my son looks lost, aloof and sullen because he seems to have nothing to do or he is crying because he thinks he hurt the feelings of the cat. When I bring up this is a cat he says I don't know if the cat has a memory or not. Seems my son feels bad that he yelled at the cat once and wants to make sure the cat is ok.
This is beyond my comprehension. We have books galore on cats and they do not seem to be helping. He is in a rut and cannot get out. He will talk randomly about the cat or other animals like I have a clue what he is talking about. It is this cat 24/7!
I try not to make a big deal about it since he is here day in and day out doing homeschooling with numerous breaks to pet the cat, play with the cat, feed the cat, blah blah blah.
If something were to happen to the cat I believe he would go ballistic and need to get counseling. If his brother were to do something to the cat I would have to protect my son. My nonverbal son runs throughout the house plus the cat does this several times a day. An accident is waiting to happen.
My son is not interested in music or sports. He hardly plays his games anymore and books he reads is on cats or the drawings are of cats. I recall reading over the years how parents have some sort of system in place where the child on the autism spectrum can only speak on a certain topic so many times a day. I am thinking this would be good, but then I feel I need to compensate since he is home schooled and not going anywhere or connecting with other kids.
We cannot do functions in the afternoons due to the bus and my other son. The same thing with weekends. He thrives at the summer autism daycamp and has many friends there, but they really do not do well on the phone.
Is this just teenage angst or an obsession that needs to be modified? Today when driving another Mom home from a meeting she told me that she was considering finding high school kids to play with her son and paying them. I thought the idea was interesting and said we could post on craigslist. Our sons were in Kindergarten together but they are at opposite levels of development.
I need to motivate my son. We plan on going to the Zoo next week. We usually do a visit once every month if possible.
Would some sort of system where he can only talk about the cat certain amount of times per day, or at specific times and then the spending time with cat - does that need to be adjusted?
Maybe this is depression or just hormones and he can only relate to the cat at this point in time? I am open to ideas and suggestions.