It is not often that A’s obsessive interests and fascination with minutiae become germane enough to share even with his brothers. The upcoming Olympics provides him with a wonderful opportunity not only to display his flag collection in his room, but also to pass on this great love to his youngest brother.
Here is a sampling of some of A’s flags which he has displayed using a variety of mason jars and plastic containers on his bookshelf.
Supposedly, vexillology, the study of flags and their symbolic meanings, can be a popular hobby with people on the autism spectrum. Perhaps this is due to repetitive patterns and the need (or ability) to pay close attention to details. A is astonishingly adept at quickly differentiating France’s flag from Russia’s, and Indonesia’s from Poland’s. Or even trickier, the flag of Chad from the flag of Romania. Look them up. They are maddeningly similar. Yet, A instantaneously recognizes the country. He seems to be passing this love and talent on to my very neuro-typical G. Yesterday, while looking at some random photos from London’s 2012 flag ceremony, G instantly exclaims, pointing to a partially furled flag, “Look! There’s Brazil’s flag, and there’s Syria’s!” We have not made any kind of systematic study of flags. I suspect he has been under the tutelage of his oldest brother more than I even expected.
Although this was not in connection with the Olympics, last year A and S created flags for our new home school. Each reflects their own personality and interests. This is is the NASA-inspired one S painted. We named our school SAG House.
A was still influenced by his love for Taiwan as the underdog. He complains every Olympics that they are not permitted to carry their own flag. And very quietly I type and admit he dressed up as Taiwan last year for Halloween. (No political comments, please.)
My attempts to get G to participate in flag creation were somewhat succesful. That kid is just not a crafter. I found this cute and very simple Olympic flag craft on East Coast Creative blog. Click here to see how her son’s project turned out. G spent all of five minutes on his, but he did enjoy it, moderately.
For those who might be more enthusiastic, it was a great way to talk about circles, continents (namely, the five involved in the Olympic games), and even a refresher on how to mix primary colors to create green, purple, orange, etc.
After watching the flag ceremony clips and creating our own flags, we had to host a ceremony ourselves. After all, an outdoor mini-Olympics may not really happen with all these Arctic temperatures in the Mid West this year. Our wide staircase provided the perfect indoor venue for showcasing their spectacular colors.
Of course, we will all be fixed to the television set on Febraury 6th for the 2014 Opening Ceremony in Sochi, Russia. Unless, it is on too late in the evening, then we will just escort G on up to bed.
One more thing: A has asked me to include a flag quiz.
1. Whose flag is NOT rectangular?
2. Which national flag is the most ornate?
3. Which country readopted their five-cross flag back in 2004?
4. Which country’s flag previously featured a large ‘R’ in the center?
Are there any budding vexillologists out there? May you enjoy the time as your passion takes center stage.