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The Balloon Obsession

Published July 12, 2015 by Amplio Recorrido

balloon obsession

So recently my son who has autism has become obsessed with balloons. Now, I know that toddlers can have favorite toys and they enjoy playing with certain things but, this has gotten out of control. Let me explain. 

We were out shopping as we normally do on July 1st and it’s a day that we all look forward to. Normally, we’ll go into the store and our son enjoys running around, riding in the shopping cart and just enjoys being out. He has never begged for anything or cried for anything with the exception that he does like bouncy balls. We always bought him one because, he would often pop his by throwing it in our rose bushes. On July 1st, we went into the store and balloons that were on the ceiling caught his eye and he started exclaiming “guka, guka” and we didn’t know what that meant. He kept reaching for the balloons so we assume that word means something to him and that was his word for balloon. 

As we continued on through the store we noticed that he was starting to get much more fussy than usual and he started screaming at the top his lungs begging for the balloon. This was not typical of his behavior and he even started kicking me which he never does. Everyone in the store was staring at him and meanwhile we’re baffled as to what just happened. We pulled a balloon down just so we could get through the store. He was smiling, laughing and saying “Guka” over and over and began hugging the balloon. We tried taking it away and getting him to say bye bye to the balloon in the store and things got much worse so we caved and bought the $1 balloon. We didn’t realize that wouldn’t be the end of it. 

We went back to the store a few days later, a different one this time and again he begged for a balloon even though he still had his at home. We managed to get his mind off of it by basically shoving a bag of candy in his eye sight and quickly opening the bag and of course that worked at the time. I know it’s not the best option but, it’s the only one we had. 

Yesterday, my husband took our son into a store and he saw a balloon at the register. My husband was trying to get out of there as quickly as possible before the tantrum started but, the cashier was too slow and there were too many people in front of him. So, the screaming began and of course people were staring. Our son went into a huge meltdown and I’m not talking about like your typical toddler tantrum, he actually went into a full blown violent rage. So again, my husband gave in and my son came home with a bright red, star shaped balloon.

I’m just not sure what to do about this obsession, I know that it’s only been a little over a week but,  I know my son and I’m worried about where this obsession will take him. Will he be completely obsessed with balloons for a long time, what happens when he accidentally lets go of a balloon and it goes higher than we can catch it? We had thought about taking a balloon with us tied around his wrist so that we don’t have to keep buying them. Has anyone else gone through an obsession with balloons or other objects that caused nightmare tantrums?

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