You’ve probably heard of selective mutism by now. It’s an autism spectrum disorder that causes people to be unable to speak in specific social settings, like school or work. What you may not know is that selective mutism may be misnamed — it turns out that many autistic people are more likely to speak in environments they don’t perceive as social, like public transportation and other public places with little human interaction. If you’re interested in learning more about this phenomenon, check out the rest of this article!
Not everyone likes trains.
Many autistic people love trains. The reasons are not entirely understood, but a few possibilities have been suggested. One is that the repetitive nature of trains means they are less disruptive to the senses of an autistic person than other things in life. Another possibility is that autistic people love the constancy and predictability of trains, which might make them feel safe and secure. Whatever the reason, it’s clear that many autistic people see trains as objects of beauty or enjoy riding on them for the sensation.
I love my train
My train is a happy place. It’s a sanctuary from the world where I can be safe and free to explore my thoughts and feelings. Sometimes I think about what it would be like to go on an adventure. What would it feel like not to know what would happen next or what everyone around me was feeling? I imagine it’s something like how my train feels when I’m alone on it- wide open, with endless possibilities for what might come next.
My fascination with trains
I’ve always been fascinated with trains. I can’t remember when it started, but I know I had a Thomas the Tank Engine train set and a bunch of other train stuff as a kid. I also took the train with my family to Disney World in Florida when I was four years old, so maybe that’s why. All my toys were either trains or related to trains, and my dad even built me a wooden trestle over our living room couch out of PVC pipe so the trains would have more places to go. But these days, it’s not just because they’re fun toys. It’s because they symbolize something much more critical – autism awareness.
What autism traits do I have?
I have social anxiety, sensory issues, and attention deficit. I also have a lot of difficulty with change and cannot predict what will happen next. When I was little, my parents would take me to the train station every morning because it was so close, and they wanted me to be familiar with it. So now that I am an adult, trains are comforting because they are consistent in my life. If you’re thinking of starting a business, think about what you can do consistently for your customers.
Where does my interest in trains come from?
I have a theory that my interest in trains comes from the Three Little Pigs story. In this story, the wolf tries to trick the pigs by pretending to be their friend and offering them hospitality. However, when they believe him, he blows down their houses with the pigs inside. Ultimately, one pig survives because he built his house out of bricks instead of straw and sticks. I’m not sure if this is what made me interested in trains or not, but it makes sense with what I know about myself.
The positive impact of my autistic interest on me and others
I have a deep fascination with trains and watch them go by. It is just so soothing for me. Something about the train’s rhythm fills me with a sense of peace and happiness. They are also very predictable, which is comforting for someone with anxiety. I can’t think of anything else that has positively impacted my life as trains have.
The world would be very different if we didn’t have trains to carry us from one place to another. We could never transport goods from one state or country to another without them. This would leave many people without work because they wouldn’t be able to make deliveries or get their products out in time for customers who live far away.
Suggestions for dealing with an autistic child’s obsession over a train/cars/animals.
The best way to deal with an autistic person’s obsession with trains is to let them ride the train as much as they want. If they are obsessed with cars, then you should also let them ride in a car. If they’re obsessed with animals, you can bring them to the zoo or go on a safari together.
Finding an Occupational Therapist specializing in Autism.
Occupational therapy uses planned, structured activities to improve a person’s quality of life. Occupational therapists help clients develop skills and achieve goals in daily living, including self-care (eating, dressing, toileting) and leisure activities. They work with people of all ages and abilities across the lifespan on their cognitive, physical, social, sensory, and motor skills.
Occupational therapists can also specialize in working with children with autism spectrum disorders. A few reasons that occupational therapists work with children on the autism spectrum include:
- Increasing joint attention (attention to one person by another).
- Improving symbolic play (the ability to make up pretend games).
- Improving eye contact (to provide feedback).
- Reducing stereotypical behaviors such as body rocking or hand flapping.