Inventing and visual/spacial thinking: Got Milk??

This morning I could tell H was on the prowl for something interesting to occupy him.

He queried, “Mom – are we almost finished the milk??”

“Why? Are you needing the carton for something?”

“Yup – I am thinking about building a prop chainsaw arm… Wouldn’t that be cool?!?”

And – oh my goodness… we went through a lot of milk today!

H must have really needed that carton, and I could almost hear him slosh as he passed by! He is currently creating out in the garage… and I am hoping I can get him back in for dinner. Seriously though, he could very well be too full to eat…

On the other hand… I have a baguette and roasted chicken – both of which seem to contain certain magical powers.

So I just hollered out the window, “Lock up – buttercup – it is time for dinner!!” and when I told him what was planned the entire neighbourhood was blessed in hearing his mighty “Whoop!! Ya!!”

Earlier in the week, H was creating with K’nex! He build a mechanical hand and pincers that he can operate from some kind of contraption inside this frame… and he engineered feet, and a Samurai type face shield – and… Wait – I’ll toss in the pictures:



knexarmor4knexarmor5As you can see, this boy loves LOVES to build things.

Later tonight – H was bathed – teeth brushed – pajamas on – melatonin taken – heading to bed and then…

I – just – couldn’t – resist.

I crumbled and gave H an early Christmas present that I picked up when I braved the stores for a wee while today. It is a giant Christmas ornament disco ball about 20 cm (8 inches) in diameter. It was on sale for less than 5 dollars and I knew he would love it and well… it is just so – so – him!!

So now he is tucked into bed – with a disco ball hanging from his light.

Thinking ahead (ya – I still manage to keep ahead – but I suspect that will be short-lived) I suggested, “Make sure you only use a flashlight to shine on that please – do not use one of your lasers – that would be dangerous because the little mirrors could reflect the laser back at you or someone else.”

“Ya… I know, Mom. That would be the Disco Ball of Death… I wont use a laser.”



H called me back into his room a few minutes later.

He said, “I am living the good life! Look – I made a minor modification…”

He has now rigged up his home-made Lego iPod holder so that it will hold a tiny light as well. Apparently this is known as an upgrade!

I smiled, “Wow – look at you! You have your own sensory room with all of the stars in the universe! You could make the leap to hyper-space!”

“Nah – it is a Disco Room – I am going to rock the night away!!”

“I’ll bet you are! G’night H, I love you and sweet dreams… “

“Good night, Mom…”

“…and Mo-ommm…?” (I melt at the way he can sometimes so tenderly turn ‘mom’ into a two syllable word) “…thank you!”


Anyone else have a kid who is an inventor?? We’re thinking of giving H a pile of old toasters and NES contollers for Christmas – but we would certainly be open to suggestions…

Related Posts: The-wing-tales-from-an-autistic-childhood/


30 Days of Autism is a project designed to fight stigma, promote civil rights, and increase understanding and acceptance for those who process and experience the world differently.

©Leah Kelley, Thirty Days of Autism (2012)   

About Leah Kelley, Ed.D.

Leah Kelley, M.Ed, Ed.D., Writer, Consultant, Activist, Speaker, and Educator, working with Teacher Candidates at UBC. Authors blog: 30 Days of Autism. Projects support social understanding, Neurodiversity paradigm, Disability Justice, and connecting Disability Studies in Education(DSE)to Educational Practice. Twitter: @leah_kelley Facebook: 30 Days of Autism: Leah Kelley
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16 Responses to Inventing and visual/spacial thinking: Got Milk??

  1. My dad was always partial to old locks that could be dismantled and rebuilt (though picking locks may not be the most reputable skill, it certainly can be useful, if you use it only when absolutely appropriate). Or old microwave timers. 🙂 Keep on building, H!


  2. rebelmommy says:

    Sharing this story brought me a lot of happiness today. Thank you for that! Please let H know that, not only do I really like his “H” name, because I am also an H, but I absolutely love the way his mind works. It is fantastic! YES, keep on building H!


  3. orangealien says:

    H has an incredible mind!! Old clocks are a great fun machine as they can be taken apart and the parts can be exchanged/interchanged to make new creations. And I am actually fairly certain he could use the inner workings of an old clock to make a Lego and K’nex clock.


  4. Heidi says:

    I always liked the little spin motors that I could buy at the toy shop. Most electronic stores have them. They have two wires that attach to each end of a battery to power them. I explored so many different things to spin! And the other one as I got a bit older, was bikes and lawn mowers . So much fun.


  5. Ann says:

    What an amazing boy! It sounds like he is quite the inventor. I love the K’nex creations. I really like building things. I was the little girl who hated dolls. I loved Legos, Lincoln Logs, Tinkertoys and such. When K’nex came out, I started with those too. Luckily, my grandmother decided that she liked Legos too, so that was what she asked for every year for her birthday and Christmas. She had about 30 of the basic sets before the kits started coming out. She and I used to build entire little villages from our imaginations. She died when I was 9, but she left her Lego collection to me. They were that important to us. Now, I have two little boys of my own who love to build with Legos too.


    • Leah Kelley says:

      Thank you for your comment. What an spectacular and validating legacy form your wonderful Grandmother. This is simply beautiful… and now your boys play with the Legos! I love that, and I’ll bet your Grandma would as well!!


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