My son scares easily. His favorite television shows include My Little Pony, Chuggington, Sophia the First, and Thomas the Train – to name a few. HOWEVER the minute something that he feels is scary happens he gallops out of the room panic stricken. These scenes include, but are not limited to :
- Thomas and Friends – Misty Island Rescue – when the Jobi logs fall off the bridge and Thomas saves Diesel from going off the edge too.
- My Little Pony – Any episode when they go into the EverFree Forest, but most especially when the Timberwolves are present.
- Sophia the First – He goes into meltdown mode during the Make Way for Miss Nettle episode. He hates when Miss Nettle puts everyone in bubbles.
For the life of me I couldn’t figure out why these seemingly innocent children’s cartoons would cause him such distress. What I am learning is that children have a natural misunderstanding of what is real and fantasy. Add that my son is on the spectrum and a whole new world of understanding comes into play. He is a literal and concrete thinker. Even though his cartoons are based in Fantasy, he still perceives them and their experiences as real. Today this really hit home to me when he heard that the Missouri Tigers Football team is “on fire”. He got upset. He thought they were really on fire. We had to calmly explain that they were not on fire, but that they were playing football and winning games. He said “Oh!” but you could see his brain trying to wrap around the abstract thought.
We now avoid those particular episodes, at the same time it is important that he begins to understand the difference between the concept of real and fantasy. These are literary concepts that he is learning to differentiate at school. We are working on them at home, also! Until he is able to figure the two out we will continue to avoid the scary shows. In particular we will avoid much of television this month – Even the Disney Channel is a little too scary for him right now. He is eagerly awaiting the end of “Monstober” – the month of scary shows.