The Spectacular Joy of Inventing

Inventing… the idea becomes the prototype… and onward from there!

H made the hot sauce for me as imagined/dreamed up the other night (see Spice of life!). Um ya… it is aptly named: Twitching Corpse Hot Sauce!

TCHotsauce2.jpgToday he is trying to figure out how to make a hoverboard (a floating skateboard like in Back to the Future) He spent about 2 hours yesterday working with magnets and a mini skateboard, and he is back at it now…

There is a lot of action – and trying and retrying – and many of his attempts do not work.

We also seem to be going through a lot of hot glue of late – and frankly – so much tape that I can’t help wishing I had investments in 3M.

At one point today he asked for help getting “this sticky stuff” off of some of his magnets. It actually turned out to be metal filings that I had acquired for him to play with using his vast magnet collection. I explained that it wasn’t sticky – just magnetic – and helped him to plan how to remove the tiny bits of metal from his magnets.

When I came back into the kitchen a few minutes later – he was now busy folding these metal fragments into something.

MagneticSillyputty.jpgBarely containing my smirky giggle of appreciation, I query: “What are you doing now?”

“Mom – I am making magnetic silly putty”

“Cool – Does it work?”

“We’ll see…”

H fiddles with this for a while… then satisfied with his interlude of discovery (Yes… it did work) he is back to working on his hoverboard prototype.

Apparently now H is making a pedestal… a requirement, according to him,  “to make it float… well… I hope so…”

I have no idea what’s next – but I have to celebrate this kid’s trouble-shooting way of thinking, and appreciate this is a huge strength that has the potential to take him far indeed. The perseverance and curiosity are his, but what we can ensure as parents, is the time and the space and the pace for him to delve into his interests.

Inventing is one of H’s strengths, but it is one that is also being nurtured. He is spending thousands of hours doing the kind of thinking that brings him joy. We are working to provide him with the opportunity to do so with intensity – and to do so in a way that allows H to be at the helm.

Every child may not have H’s skill in visual/spacial perception, or his interest in problem solving, but every single child has areas of relative strength. What I am learning is that a strength-based way of viewing and appreciating H’s skills and way of experiencing the world is something that we need to focus upon for each child. When he is surrounded by the things that interest him, he does his best learning.  I hear him say things like: “Hopefully it is functional” and then if it isn’t – this kid is seriously headed back to the drawing board.

Inventorswork.jpgAnd as H is cleaning up – I am wondering where he might sleep tonight based upon the look of his bed, which seems to have become the recent depository for some of his projects. I draw back my urge to rein it in… and repeat my mantra: “This. This is his work…”

Keep on inventing H!!

And right at that point – H says to me, “Mom, I love my inventive mind!” and I am almost brought to my knees with the power of this proclamation!




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, (2013)

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
This entry was posted in Autism, diversity, Flexible thinking, inventing, Resiliency, self-directed learning, Space and Pace and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Spectacular Joy of Inventing

  1. suvarna says:

    Wish that could be bottled, I’d buy a few cases.


  2. Leah Kelley says:

    Me too… seriously!


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