When Scott was only 8 months old he became attached to a little fuzzy yellow duck piece in a wooden farm animal puzzle. He would quickly find it and put it in his mouth and then carry it around all day. He even recognized the same piece at someone else’s house when he looked at their puzzles.
This changed to what can only be described as an obsession with the color yellow. What I mean by this is that he needed to have something yellow with him at all times. He would throw aside all the other rings on the ring stacker and carry the yellow one around. He would sort out all the yellow legos and then hold onto one small square block. While other children had stuffed animals or “loveys”, his item would change from time to time, but it would always be yellow. A yellow car, a yellow part of a larger toy, the triangle stamp from the magna doodle, a yellow ball. And this was true across the board. He had to have the yellow bib, the yellow plate, the yellow playdoh, the yellow crayon. If we were at a music or gym class he had to have the yellow shaker or the yellow cone. I would cringe at soccer when one boy received a yellow “pinny” and Scott got green, knowing he would pitch a fit. When we went to someone’s house, he would find and accumulate yellow items in a corner. You get the idea.
People found this amusing, perplexing and, for
the most part, tried to accommodate him, figuring this quirk was no big
deal. We knew it was unusual and
searched for the meaning behind this yellow fixation. Our pediatrician nonchalantly said “I guess
likes the color yellow”. We thought, is this what early autism looks like? He was unusual in other ways too, but this was the most obvious. One of my friends said, “he must be smart because understanding colors at such a young age is difficult”. Ok, we’d believe that, he did seem smarted than other kids. He seemed to notice things others did not. But, hey, he was our first kid, and doesn’t everyone think their kid is smart?
It wasn’t until Scott was almost 4½ that we finally understood what was going on. That’s when the mystery of his Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) was finally uncovered. It turns out that, like many other things he did (and still does) there’s actually a solid explanation for the yellow obsession. This was his way of controlling his overwhelming world. He could find the yellow item and it made him feel secure. There was so much going on around him that he needed to break it down to what he could handle. And, yes, he is pretty smart. Think of how clever of an adapting mechanism that was!