Friday, February 20, 2009

To infinity and beyond

Scooter has been particularly interested in all things space. We've been borrowing videos from our library on planets, the sun, the space shuttle, etc. On our walk to school, he will summarize the information he has learned, working through the planets in order. Did you know that both Mars and Pluto are "cold, barren worlds"? (Now imagine that said by a kid who has trouble with the 'r' sound.)

While not an explicit request for his birthday list, a telescope sits in our closet, waiting for the big day next month. It may be a little more advanced than where his interest currently is--he talks about building a spaceship so he can fly to Pluto--but Trillian and I both are excited about showing him the sky and giving him a sense that it is all really out there.

Then today I read about the Galileoscope. (And also the fact that it's the International Year of Astronomy--how perfect for when my son's interest is at its highest!) This is a fairly simple, but quite effective, small telescope kit. It's supposed to be easy to put together and has a few different configurations, depending on what magnification and image orientation you want. There's also an eyepiece that replicates Galileo's viewing experience.

And here's the most amazing part--the price. One kit is $15. Plus shipping and handling, which can add a bit more, depending on where you are. For institutions and groups that want to place bulk orders, they drop the price to $12.50 per telescope for 100+. Individuals can also donate telescopes to schools and the like at the $12.50 price point.

The rub for us is that they won't be shipping until April, after the all-important 6th birthday. Plus we already have the fancy telescope in our closet.

I ordered two anyway.

The telescope Scooter will get on his birthday requires set-up and, therefore, planning on when we want to use it. The Galileoscope will be perfect for spontaneous viewings, vacations, and the like.

The purchase of the second telescope ties in with the fact that we've been consulting a lot of Asperger's information. Just as the videos and books (not to mention, several members of his educational team) mention that Aspies frequently like to take items apart to figure out how they work, we see Scooter headed this direction. And we even want to encourage it to a certain degree, just not with our working electronics. So we'll be setting up a work area for him and supplying him with acceptable items to explore as he desires. This telescope will be the first item we hand to him with this purpose. We'll let him take it from there.

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