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Boy obsessed with fans
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ninners7 posted:
My son is almost 3 hrs old (birthday in Jan) and is completely obsessed with fans. He’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 doesn’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 she’s worried about him. But his obsession just seems to be getting more intense and I’m not sure if that’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?
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BabyParks responded:
I don't think it's anything to be super concerned about but you sound very concerned so maybe you should ask a second opinion. Does he have any other issues? Speech delays? Trouble adapting to different things? Social skills are ok? These are things we are going thru now with my son to rule out if he is autistic. So far he seems to not have any major red flags but I am still a concerned mother because he isn't communicating with me like he should be. We have got him set up for speech therapy within the month. I spoke to my pediatrician and they recommended Early intervention assessment you may want to have something like this done. They spoke with me on the phone and went over it all to see if he qualified which he did with a a 25% or greater delay in speech and then did an in home assessment and he also qualified in that one. They will start his therapy soon and I am anxious to see if this helps some. My son is obsessed with the just dance wii game and loves to dance he also LOVES balls and the kitty. If we try to get him to do something else and come inside from the kitty he throws a fit and it's bad. He just turned 2 oct. 8th so I am hoping some of this frustration goes away with age and his communication is enabled. Let me know what you decide.
 
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ninners7 replied to BabyParks's response:
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
 
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ninners7 replied to ninners7's response:
I've done some more searching and found this... http://www.sixtysecondparent.com/_webapp_436583/Toddler_obsessions I think it will just be ba phase.
 
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Marymom78 responded:
Hi, I feel your pain. My son is four and has had an obsession with fans since he was three months old. But it's going to be ok! I will break this down for you and give you what you need to know from my perspective. It's an atypical way of "playing" in an otherwise typically developing child. It's sensory related. For my son, an OT has told us he is hypo-vestibular (look it up) and he is stimulating himself to get more sensory feedback. The long and short of it is that he can't spend so much time doing one thing to the exclusion of everything else. I put time limits on how much time he could talk about/look at/pretend things were fans ( aka Fan Time). He is not allowed to go to other people's homes and turn their fans on. It's just not appropriate. I let him have fan time in doses while I am on the phone, or while a movie is on. This was the best thing we've ever done. In the last year his whole world has expanded and he plays with so many different toys now. He still loves fans and I suspect that someday each and every room in his home will have a fan in it. But fans no longer rule the roost around here. Hope this helps!
 
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Gary16 replied to Marymom78's response:
How were you able to break the habit? my 2.5 year old is very obsessed with fans since he was an infant. He talks about it and looks at it all the time. He is on the autism spectrum.

I am super worried as it is becoming bigger than any obsession that is known to me. Please share any strategies that has helped.
 
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ninners7 replied to Gary16's response:
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!
 
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maxwell7488 replied to ninners7's response:
I am so glad that I found this forum. My son will be 6 in a few weeks and is completely obsessed with fans. He has been obsessed with them since he was a baby. He would stare at the ceiling fans and twitch his arms and feet when they would spin. His pedi referred us to a neurologist to be sure he wasn't having seizures. She simply explained that we should prepare ourselves because we are going to have one hyper child on our hands. Boy was she right. Now, at almost 6 years old he does exactly the same thing except for now he "stims" his hands behind him while watching them. It has gone from fans to anything that moves or has parts or even music coming out of speakers.

He is very passionate about his fans and is rewarded with the little handheld fans after having a good week at school. He has a small collection of different types of fans which he loves to talk about in detail to friends and family. He found out at around 3 years old that air conditioning units have fans in them, boy that was stressful trying to keep him away from them and explain to them that they can hurt him. He loves to take fans apart and attempt to put them back together. He for sure has the mechanical mind and wants to know how things work. He actually gets excited if I find a fan that is broken and let him have at it as far as taking it apart and putting it back together goes.

I also have discovered what we call "fan time" and give him specific times of the day that he is aloud to play with them or watch them spin (part of his sensory diet). His therapist has given us the okay to keep fans around and that he is actually receiving good stimulation from them.

There is a windmill farm about 30 minutes from our house and once a month his "treat" is to go drive past them and watch them spin. Also, we will go to Menards or Lowes and go to the ceiling fan displays so he can see what new ones are out. These types of things are his version of "heaven" so to say. If he is good at the store we will swing past the fan isle and let him take a peek. He loves to watch fans on Youtube and usually will watch those rather than cartoons. Much to my surprise there are children on Youtube that are showing off their "fan collection".

We have all accepted the fact that fans are going to be a part of our lives and that as I am passionate about certain things in my life, he is also but just in a different concept.

He is currently being evaluated for autism/sensory disorders and has been diagnosed with ADHD and OCD. It is good to know that I am not the only parent going through the fan obsession!
 
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manderj replied to maxwell7488's response:
I am so glad I found this! My son is the same exact way. He is almost 3. He loves videos of fans, going to Lowes, looking at anything with a "fan" like ACs or helicopters, and we have to tell him "fan" stories every night before bed. OCD runs in our family. Can you tell me what other signs your son had of OCD and ADHD? We were getting him evaluated, but they wouldn't accept him unless he had a well-child visit (instead of the one we went to randomly since we were worried about him) which he is due for in 2 months. Two months is a long time for me wait. Do you have any signs I should look for? Naturally, I worry that he has the disorders I have looked up. He has typical behavior is social situations, but he does seem to have idiosyncrasies that don't seem typical. But he is my oldest so I don't know for sure! I am going crazy. Thanks for any help in advance.
 
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manderj replied to maxwell7488's response:
My almost 3 year old son is the same way. He loves fans and constantly talks about them and wants to watch videos of them. We have had several people comment on how much he likes fans. We also go to Lowes a lot, tell stories about fans before bed, go on walks and look at fans, etc. His social skills are typical for a 3 year old and his speech is well developed. But OCD runs in both sides of the family. And he has always had signs of ADHD in my opinion. Can you tell me what other signs your son had? We were trying to get him tested but they won't do it until after his well-child visit in a couple months. Thanks for any help!
 
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jenny7ruth replied to ninners7's response:
My son who just turned 2 is exactly the same way! All he wanted to do for trick or treating this year was to go in everyone's houses and see their fans. When I told him we were going to the next house and we couldn't go inside, he was pretty upset. One strange thing we discovered is that he is really afraid of black fans but likes white ones.

He seems completely normal in every other way, very social, extremely verbal. He has great eye contact and a wonderful sense of humor. He has other interests such as electricity, trains, and wanting to know what every vehicle is on the street.

But it always comes back to fans. Is it possible these kinds of obsessions can be completely normal or should I be worried? Almost every conversation we have is about a fan or lack of a fan wherever we go. When we Skype with people, he wants to see their fans and can barely have a conversation with them at times because he's just begging them to see the fan.

If we're coloring, he wants me to draw a fan that he can color. He constantly refers back to places that had fans he either liked or was scared of. He will tell the same stories about the fans over and over, even though I respond to him. It's definitely not for lack of attention or anything.

I'm really not sure how to handle the obsession, but I'm hoping it is just a phase. If not, I will try some of the methods you've described. We do have some OCD in the family, so I'm a little nervous!
 
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ninners7 replied to jenny7ruth's response:
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!
 
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princessmarie79 replied to maxwell7488's response:
Omg! I am so relieved after reading your posts that I am not the only person to be going through this.


My son has just turned 5 and his obsession with fans has not faded one bit, in fact I'd say its getting worse.
It started at a few months old with clocks where he would watch the seconds hand and everywhere we went he would seek out the clock. This then moved onto fans, mixers, hoovers .....anything that spins tbh but mainly fans.


Saying that though he loves hoovers and attachments and will spend hours playing with a hoover, changing the attachments over and over, he loves to watch the brushes spin. He also loves the sound things make and can do a hoover sound to a T!


We can't go into a supermarket without him seeking out the freezers/fridges and he drops to the floor to look through the grids as he can hear the fans. He also knows which shops have the industrial fans on sides of buildings and as soon as he is out of the car he races to them.
It's quite funny that as soon as he hears the sound of a fan or hoover his head spins to seek where the sound is coming from.


In his swimming lessons his concentration is next to zero he will be looking anywhere other than at the instructor and even when his name is called he will carry on. He also spins around in the pool looking at the ceiling as he can hear the fans but can't see them!


He watches youtube video's on baking just so he can see the mixers, he bakes a lot at home so he can use the mixer.

We went into a toy shop and they had small hand held fans, he screamed the shop down because I was trying to get him to have a toy and he wanted the fan....needless to say he got the fan!


His behaviour is horrendous, some may say he is just a typical 5 year old boy! but I have a daughter who has Asperger's so I've been through all this with her so I am concerned my son is going down the same route. like her he is exceptionally bright and exceeds in his speech and language.


I don't know if I'm seeing these things as an issue because of my daughter!?
I haven't sought help/advice from a professional yet....should I?
 
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ninners7 replied to princessmarie79's response:
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!
 
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kapild82 replied to ninners7's response:
LOl..I don't mean to laugh but my son had an obssession with bathrooms at this age. He could not go anywhere without checking out the bathrooms first.

As far as the ceiling fans go, they are fascinating. Maybe this is a sign of what your child is going to do when he grows up.....electrician or fixing/making things that move.
I myself would not be too worried about it. If it's a phase, he'll grow out of it. If not, he'll make money from it.

Kapil Dua


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