Hobbies? Special interests? Obsessions?
It is a huge debate between ‘experts’ and the #AutisticCommunity (not to be confused with the #AutismCommunity which is primarily poor-me, whiny a$$ parents).
But ALL people have them. ‘Normal’ and #neurodivergent. But those ‘experts’ insist upon making ‘special interests’ and ‘obsessions’ one of the diagnostic criteria for #autism.
PanKwake has loads of them. Art. Collections (dolls, plushies, Benweevils, and now Shopkins). Gaming, of course. Art…especially photography. And animals. In fact, this trip combined two of those…photography and animals. PanKwake spent a very snowy day running around an almost empty London Zoo photographing all her favorite animals.
Here is a sample of her efforts. Yes, it was so cold that the fountain actually froze…
But this is my favorite one…
There is a story behind it too. In all our previous trips to the zoo, we have rarely seen the lions. Only a glimpse of their tails or manes as they sunned in a far corner away from prying eyes. But in the freezing cold with that funny, unknown white stuff falling from the sky and covering the ground, they were huddled all together by the glass to keep warm.
PanKwake was fascinated and excited. She says to the Alpha male…Pose for me. And as if he actually understood her, he turned his head and did that. He stayed that way for a moment while she took the photo. Then his job accomplished, he stood up, stretched, and ran off for a bit.
Whether it is gold fish, butterflies, penguins, cats, meerkats, dogs, or lions, PanKwake has always had a connection with animals. This was not the first time she ‘talked’ to them either.
When she was about 15 months old, we visited my son in Los Angeles. We did all the tourist stuff that I had never done while we lived there including SeaWorld – San Diego. We went to the area where you can feed the dolphins. We bought a bag of expensive smelly fish for my older son…thinking that PanKwake was much too young to feed them. But he did not want to.
So her father took PanKwake to the edge of the pool and held her over it while she feed a ‘baby’ dolphin. When she had given it the very last fishy, it swam away, of course. Then you hear this squeaky squeal. It sounded just like a dolphin. But it was coming from PanKwake.
The baby dolphin stopped. It ‘replied’ to her. And then swam away as PanKwake giggled. I knew then that my #LittleHuman was special. And I have not doubted that her future is bright…not even in our most challenging moments.
In fact, ‘animal rescuer’ is one of her career options. Forget Jacques Cousteau. Step aside Sir David Attenborough. Move over Steve Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter. Make way for PanKwake. Photographer, adventurer, and animal rescuer extraordinaire.
I can see PanKwake travelling the world…filming and photographing animals and her wild adventures (zip lines around the world?) for her YouTube channel. I mean at twelve she has already begun her chosen career path.
That, folks, is the power of #RadiCoolUnschooling. Encouraging, enabling, and empowering our #neurodivergent #LittleHumans to develop those ‘special interests’ into fulfilling careers that make them both successful and #HappilyAutistic adults.
She also made videos of the ‘shows’. I will be posting those to her YouTube channel in a couple of days as examples of #RadiCoolUnschooling at its best. She was constantly making comments and asking questions. While the schoolers just sat there like pumps on logs.