If your son is having a difficult time concentrating on other things (like when he's at swimming lessons), then I don't think it could hurt to seek professional advice. My 5-year old had it completely occupy him when he was around 3, but he grew out of it being so much of an obsession and it's now just his favorite things to play with (fans, vacuums, marble runs...anything mechanical).
And since your daughter has Asperger's, you would know more about the signs and what that all involves. I just looked it up and found this: http://www.webmd.com/brain/autism/mental-health-aspergers-syndrome If your son shows 2-3 or more of these symptoms, you may want to seek professional advice, just to be sure. It never hurts to know for sure! My son only exhibits 1 (the Limited Range of Interests), and seems to interact very well with other kids, so that's why I decided to relax about his intense interest in the fans and vacuums.
Good luck, I hope you are able to find out. Sometimes it's so much more stressful just not knowing!View Thread
When I originally posted, my son was almost 3 and totally obsessed with fans. Now he's almost 5 and still loves fans, but I wouldn't call it an "obsession" anymore. It's just something he likes and thinks are cool. He still has a small fan collection of about 4-5 different fans that he plays with sometimes. Over the last year, he's discovered vacuums and is fascinated with the suction and all of the attachments. He loves to use big words and talk about the names of all the tools, what they are used for aand the "suction function" (say that 10 times fast!). We found Casdon makes toy vacuums that actually work and bought him a Dyson look-a-like. He has so much fun helping me clean, but as this is his latest obsession, he also loves to watch videos on YouTube of vacuums...especially testing vacuums.
So far in my experience, he's just fascinated with mechanical things and loves to know how they work. He never gets tired of watching fans go around, or see how the cyclones on certain vacuums work. My husband and I have made sure we never criticize or make fun of his love for fans (and now vacuums). We want him to feel confident in the things HE likes. Grandma even made him a shirt that had a robot on it with fans for hands. Who says all boys have to like trains or dinosaurs? I don't see anything wrong with him having a difference in his interests. He is completely "normal" in all other aspects of being a 4 year old boy. He interacts with other kids great and does great in preschool. So we've never worried about getting him tested for anything.
@Jenny7Ruth General fears seem to appear in children when they are around 2, so his fear of the black ones and not the white ones to me seems normal to me for his age. Personally, I wouldn't worry about it. However, if he shows any other signs of autism, you may want to have him tested. (I've read babies that love to watch fans is one of the early signs of autism). However, if your son is like mine and this is the only thing that is "different" about him, then you may just have one of the many boys that love mechanical things We just try to encourage our son to explore new things and are always describing in detail how anything mechanical works. Like I said before, we might be raising a future engineer!View Thread
When I originally posted this thread, my son was not yet 3. Now he is over 4 and he still loves fans. He seems to be one of those kids who love to know how things work. In fact his favorite show since he was nearly 2 years old is "How It's Made". His obsession with fans was so bad, we couldn't even take a walk around the block without him wanting to stop at EVERY house and look at the air conditioning units to see if the fan was spinning. Although we were concerned with the obsession, we also were concerned about hurting his self esteem by making any negative comments about fans or his love of them.
So over the past 1.5 years, we've learned a few things that have worked for us. First, we tried to limit his time focusing on fans without making it feel like a punshiment during times when it inconvenienced the rest of us. For example, when we went for walks, we'd start by saying "On our walk today, we are going to stop and look at 3 fans, ok? We'll count them as we go." So we'd remind him at each one that after 3 we weren't stopping anymore. And we would not allow him to play with other people's fans when we were at their house, by warning him in advance before we even got there that it wouldn't be allowed, so there was no melt-down later.
We also tried exposing him to other things that could satisfy his curiosity for how it works (gravity, motion, air, etc). For example, we found a fun toy for cheap at Walgreens (just looked it up on Amazon "Discovery Kids Extreme Weather Tornado Lab") that he could turn off/on and it would spin the water into a tornado. We even put drops of food coloring in the water so he could watch the water change colors. I was able to get him to be entertained with this toy for long periods in the kitchen at the table while I cooked dinner. (This one does require supervision). We also bought him a marble maze and watching the marbles run down through the tubes entertained him as much as fans. (This one also needed supervision until he was past the age of putting things in his mouth...i.e. marbles). And now that he's 4, he's starting to really love building Legos with dad.
The big key is to make sure he is getting stimulation elsewhere. My son tends to gravitate toward his obsession with fans when he's BORED. So I tried as much as possible to get him outside playing (if the weather would allow).
It's difficult not to stress/worry about your child when they like to do things that don't seem "normal" for other kids. Mine never cared about cars or dinosaurs like other kids his age. He just seems to have a more scientific mind. Once he started preschool, he had no problem interacting and playing with other kids. So we've just accepted that fans is his "thing". In fact, we decided to embrace his love for it and installed a bright colorful ceiling fan that had a remote that he could turn it on and off with. His excitement for this was so worth the 4 hours it took 3 guys to get it installed...haha. (He "earned" this ceiling fan with a sticker chart for brushing his teeth, bathing, etc).
My advice is to just try exposing him to other things, which will automatically limit his time with fans. But don't criticize his love for fans. They will grow out of it being so much an "obsession" and it being more of just one of their favorite things. As our son as gotten older, his interests have expanded. And as they get older (seems like it was around 3 1/2) they get a lot more social, and he spent lots of time outside playing with other boys.
I hope even just some of this is helpful! You mentioned your son is on the autism spectrum, so if he doesn't show any interest in anything new you introduce, you may want to seek professional advice on what to do. Good luck and hang in there!View Thread
After reading all the other signs for concerns, he doesn't have any. He did have a speech delay somewhat when he was 1.5 hrs old because he had so many ear infections his first year and his adenoids were so enlarged it made it hard for him to hear. But after he had tubes put in and his adenoids removed, he started picking up more words and now talks like crazy. So he has no problem communicating, playing with other kids, and otherwise seems like a very normal boy. So maybe I'm worried for nothing... It just seems strange that a toddler would be so interested in fans instead of "regular" kid toys. Who knows, maybe he'll grow up to be an engineer View Thread
My son is almost 3 hrs old (birthday in Jan) and is completely obsessed with fans. Heâ€™s likes anything that spins ever since he was 6 months old. All he wants to do is watch videos of fans that people have posted on YouTube. If I ever tell him we are watching something else instead of fans, he throws a huge fit. His obsession has started to worry me and my husband, particularly after seeing these other fan-obsessed people on YouTube. It just doesn't seem very normal to me...if it were trains or trucks, then I wouldn't be concerned. And after doing some searching online, it appears that obsessions with fans can be a sign of autism. Although, he doesnâ€™t seem to have any other symptoms. His pediatrician has a child with autism and is very aware of the signs and has never said sheâ€™s worried about him. But his obsession just seems to be getting more intense and Iâ€™m not sure if thatâ€™s normal for a kid his age (regardless of the obsession?) or if it should be seen as a red flag for something. Because of this, my husband and I are at odds with ourselves as to whether or not we support/encourage his obsession? Anyone else have a child obsessed with fans? Anyone think this sounds like odd behavior for a 2-3 yr old?View Thread