Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Screen-free time with aspie boy: birdwatching

If you look under my son's bed you will find neatly stacked piles of toys and games, many barely touched. Since his eighth birthday I've been fighting a losing battle against the siren call of the Xbox, Wii, PS, DS and YouTube.

He's tried taekwondo, judo and basketball, considered athletics and hiphop, and rejected football and hurling.  During the autumn most activities were on hold as we trekked over to Wales and back to see my Dad.  Apart from chess of course.

After Christmas he wanted to do more things, aware that activities and interests could reduce his anxiety levels.  Art, Tennis and Japanese have been introduced into his weekly schedule, as well as the chess.  And this weekend we tried another activity that he'd mentioned: bird-watching.  Smiley was with us so we chose a path along the sea-wall, but there was plenty of bird activity on the sweep of sands in Dublin Bay...and a few other things, including two men in waders.  I'd love to know what they were at?

It was great to be doing something different, and it all came back to me: I spotted the oystercatchers and the different waders and gulls, and excitedly called aspie boy every time a flock of Canada Geese flew over.  You see this used to be my hobby too.  As a child of the 60s, living in the country with no TV, my parents encouraged interests like bird-watching.  And these are my binoculars.  Bought for £10 by saving my pocket money of half a crown a week.

There was the RSPB and the Young Ornithologist's Club with its badges and magazines.  How quaint it all seems now!   I don't know anyone who boasts about being a 'birdwatcher' these days.  Yet it appeals to my son even when up against the likes of Spore and Minecraft.

I'm delighted: birdwatching combines education, fresh air, getting out of the house and a teeny bit of exercise.  I'm also wondering if bird-watching would be a typical interest for a child with Asperger's syndrome?  I'd love to know your thoughts.

Housekeeping note: Just adding the code here for technorati here too (please ignore) FHR4T4VWDR6Z 


Þorgerður said...

Yay we love birdwatching too :)
I think bird watching is just a very suitable thing for anyone aspergers or not.. outdoors gaining knowledge so many features and angles can lead too many things in the future too.

SAHMlovingit said...

I think bird watching is a great past time - relaxing and fun. I know my MIL is very into it. Do you have a good bird table at home? That may be good if he really gets into it xx

Lizbeth said...

I love to watch birds. When we were in North Dakota I would see all kinds of birds on their migrations. I've not thought of it as an activity for my son because honestly, we're right where you are---trying to get his head out of all his electronics. We had a game free day and it about killed us. Now I'm trying to taper him off in small doses....I think I'll mention this to him and see what he thinks.

Actually Mummy said...

My kids are members of the RSPB due to a gift from Granny one Christmas and they love finding out about the different species. Anything that absorbs them has got to be good, hasn't it?

Barbara said...

This is precious! We kind of bird watch, as we can and are in the right place. Our next door neighbor is an official bird watcher, and so we are influenced some in that direction. She is an active member of the Audubon Society. Is that club in Ireland, too?

Looking for Blue Sky said...

@Þorgerður - oh good :) I don't think I've ever seen a blog post about birdwatching

@SAHMlovingit - I had already put up a couple of bird feeders, but they can't be seen from his laptop *sigh* xx

@Lizbeth - I'd love to hear how you get on this that.

@Actually Mummy - That's great to hear :)

@Barbara - I'd not heard of the Audubon Society, but I will look it up, thank you