How do you deal with the rigid thinking? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 14 Old 12-26-2005, 01:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Man, my 4.5yo son (who has Aspergers) is so rigid in his thinking and its only getting worse as he gets older. His special interest is letters and everything has to be an ABC game, *in order* and by his rules. For Christmas, we bought him some board games, hoping to get him to engage in something and also learn a way to play with other kids. One of the games was scrabble, hoping we can modify it to channel his love of spelling but also make it to he follows some "rules."

He freaked out when I suggested we connect the words. He could not handle the letters being shared. Like, he was screaming, holding his head in his hands, freaking out.

He very much likes to make and follow his own rules, because I guess thats how he makes sense of the world. I try to respect that as much as I can, but I also feel like he needs to learn that flexibility and adaptability to cope with life.

I think the thing that bothers me most about raising and ASD child is the frustrating feeling that I need a team of experts to help me raise my kid. Like, I just dont have any of the answers or tools in my own mind.

Jenn, perpetually tired mom to DS(9): DD(4.5): DD(2) :
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#2 of 14 Old 12-26-2005, 02:26 PM
 
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I hear ya.My dd is 8 and it does get tougher as they get older.There are times when it is very overwhelming but i find that giving them the space to play how they need to (barring it is hurtful to anyone else) and giving them lots of unconditional love and hugs is the only way to keep things good.We have lots of tantrums and i remove her from the situation and we sit and talk and hug.I can no longer carry her off somewhere quiet so this is a major challenge.Quiet space and love.This really helps us.I 'give' on many things i would never give on with my other kids.She needs things to be a certain way and that won't change no matter what i do.Just take it one day at a time.Our children are such blessings and they can teach us so much
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#3 of 14 Old 12-26-2005, 11:25 PM
 
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Jenn, if you're up for it, I'd look into finding a Hanen Parenting Class -- we're in the middle of our course and it has been SO WONDERFUL for getting some tools to feel like we can make our home just as supportive and therapeutic as any "expert" session.

The methods for "intruding" on your child's world in a playful and respectful way have been immensely helpful and empowering for us.

Hanen has a great web site (I'll come back to post it once I've got the address) and the book that goes with the course is called "More Than Words"
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#4 of 14 Old 12-27-2005, 09:47 PM
 
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**He very much likes to make and follow his own rules, because I guess thats how he makes sense of the world. I try to respect that as much as I can, but I also feel like he needs to learn that flexibility and adaptability to cope with life.**

Here's my take on it and I'm no expert. If the truth be told I'm not really a huge fan of experts. You can do the reading and hear the various views but ultimately the expert on you and your child is you and your child

I think setting your life up in such a way so that he can have the most control of his own experience and life as possible makes the most sense. There are many kids who will settle for nothing less than this and going in any other direction will only cause great pain all around.

How deeply are you and he able to explore letters? There are wonderful books about objects that look like letters, not to mention a million or so great alphabet books. Can you write letters? Make them out of clay? Bake letter cookies, sew stuffed letters? Can you make your bodies into the shapes of letters? Sesame Street often had/has brilliant segments on letters, can they be recorded?

No one can move ahead if they are not feeling safe. By helping our children have control of their own lives, they are safe to grow.

All the best -
Luci

http://p075.ezboard.com/btcscommunity
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#5 of 14 Old 12-29-2005, 07:26 PM
 
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Here's the Hanen website I promised earlier:

http://www.hanen.org/

Although the site content seems to emphasive speech development, it's just as much about social and play development, IME.

Also, I meant to give some suggestions about the ABCs, since our son is also obsessed with letters & numbers, but nowhere near able to deal with the complexity of a multi-player board game. I've gotten an assortment of letter-themed books & toys that promote different types of activities & interactions & skills:

* Chicka Chicka Boom Boom (the book) and a felt board version so you can move the letters all around and on & off the tree with the coconuts

* Click Clack Quack ABC (it's an ABC book that also tells a linearly-developing story)

* letter-shaped beads for stringing

* letter-shaped dough stamps for pressing into play-doh

* letter-shaped cookie cutters for baking and for play-doh

* magnetized letters in various shapes and colors, in both upper- and lower-case, and an extra-large magnet board

* foam letters for the bathtub and pool

* with a MagnaDoodle, we play games in which Max has to ask for a specific letter or help us draw the letter, etc.

* LeapFrog writing desk (this feeds into perseverative tendencies but is such fun for him that we have found some ways to make it interactive, like hiding it so that we have to play hide-and-seek before hitting the letters...)

HTH!
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#6 of 14 Old 12-30-2005, 06:11 PM
 
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I hope you don't mind my posting here, as my child does not have an ASD. He does, however, have perseverative tendencies and anxiety which manifests itself as OCD from time to time, so I can very much relate to your post title and some of the sentiments expressed here. Example by means of a story that just happened yesterday: Ds is 5 and takes Tae Kwon Do classes two afternoons a week. At the end of each class, the Master gives each child a piece of colored tape for his/her belt, and when they accumulate 6 tapes, they receive a star iron-on for their uniform. Ds has taken only 7 classes so far, and he has received an orange piece of tape for each completed lesson. Since he has no belt, they go onto a piece of paper, which we save from lesson to lesson. Yesterday, his regular master was absent and the substitute gave him a purple piece of tape. He flipped out, insisting to the master that Master Lee gives him only orange because he does not have a belt yet, and that the purple was wrong. Coincidentally, Master Lee came into the studio as we were leaving and was able to explain to ds that while he *happened* to have given him orange up until now, it didn't *have to* be that way. Nonetheless, this remained a huge issue for ds who nearly refused to put the purple tape on the sheet of paper and talked about nothing else all night and again this morning. Once he "forgot" about this, he was onto the next topic of obsession for the day. He gets a thought and can't let it go, but in the curent stage he's in, it's a new thought that he gets stuck on almost day-to-day.
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#7 of 14 Old 12-31-2005, 01:44 PM
 
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We have some issues over here with rigidity, too. My kids are dd, 4 asd, and ds 2 mostly typical. we have a table and 2 kids chairs and it doesnt matter if you switch the chairs, its the positioning: my dd has to be on a certain side of the table. If my ds sits down on the 'wrong' side she will shove him to the floor! For most of the activities we do she has an obsession: with playdough she must have certain toys even if she doesnt plan to use them, w/ the farm set she must have the only horse,etc. {More of those are coming in the mail }Sometimes it seems she's choosing certain toys to keep them from ds. All the while she's carrying around her chosen object to obsess over, recently she's had slippers, soft flowers tucked in her clothes, and a little clutch purse we got at a thrift shop-full of chosen items!

I do try to discourage obsessions, not only is it distressing to ds, and causes me to limit things that would be fun for him, but it also is an obstacle to Celia- she cant cope or have fun when she's obsessing over something. I try to remove the most obsessed over things- the table is gone, we dont have pink playdough anymore so she's forced to choose a different colour, etc. But I wish I could help her deal with the issues rather than hiding stuff! I tried re-introducing the table and chairs once and it was an even bigger deal. Poor ds loves that table- she has the same one in her room, and he doesnt get to use his!

I would love other ideas. Before I removed the table set, I had tried stopping her every time from knocking him down but of course that just made a huge meltdown. There are some things- like furniture that you cant have duplicates of- and others that are identical but she is specific anyways! But we have doubles of many of our toys and that can help.

~Sadie fly-by-nursing1.gifintactlact.gif  guitar.gif sewmachine.gif - mom to dd 9/15/01, ds 11/12/03 {ubac}, and ds 4/29/2011, wife to Mitchell.  pos.gif coming soon in late June!
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#8 of 14 Old 01-01-2006, 04:16 PM
 
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For me, as a teacher of kids with ASDs, I find it's a combination on giving into some rigidity and pushing the rigidity when the child is having a good day. They need to be explicilty TAUGHT the coping skills needed to work through a situation that goes against *their* perceived sense of order.

I like social stories using pictures of the child for introducing the concept we're working on (like: it's ok to go last). Then when the child is used to seeing the situation visually, we role-play it and practice the coping skills or mantra the kid says to feel better. After a few weeks of lots of role-plays, I "create" situations to see if the child mastered the skill or needs more work-- the best thing about creating situations is that you care in control and can stop them at any time without anything negative happening (which isn't always true IRL, sometimes there are real world consequences to rigid behavior... so the child might not be ready to face it yet).

They don't usually generalize this to other rigid behaviors all on their own, so I usually have to do this with LOTS Of behaviors and keep trying to generalize it. It's a life-long process, it's not something we can "cure" quickly or easily. It can really help them just cope with real life.
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#9 of 14 Old 01-01-2006, 07:34 PM
 
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They don't usually generalize this to other rigid behaviors all on their own, so I usually have to do this with LOTS Of behaviors and keep trying to generalize it. It's a life-long process, it's not something we can "cure" quickly or easily. It can really help them just cope with real life.
You're right, it is all about coping. It can't be "cured", but you can help your child cope and adapt. I struggle with my Aspergers , and trying to cope with every day life, but I can tell you, it is still very difficult. It takes work, but you can assure him that all will still be well if his patterns aren't adhered to all of the time, and that the structure will still be there sometimes.

I think what has helped me cope the most with the lack of structure in certain areas is my children. They certainly throw chaos into my world of order


My 2.5 year old is severely delayed in all areas, and quite possibly has ASD (too young to diagnose). She NEEDS to have her favorite show on television at all times, even if she isn't watching it. If she's awake, and hears that the channel has been changed she screams and screams. She's non verbal, so it's not always easy to tell if we have the wrong episode on , or it's something serious like an ear infection. It's quite difficult to try to wean her away from this show. It makes it almost impossible to take her anyway. She is cognitively a baby, so it can't be explained, as it could with a child with Aspergers.
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#10 of 14 Old 01-03-2006, 01:55 PM
 
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thank you altair! I have one of those social stories books on my amazon wish list- I think Ill get it right away. really, thanks for giving me something I can use!

veiled expressions- Inever even realized how rigid my own thinking is until I read your post! I am so stubborn I havent admitted to it when confronted several times. I have undiagnosed aspergers. I always do things the same way and insist... it sometimes creates problems but I try to be flexible where it concerns others. But sometimes it makes it hard to go out or get things done. Sometimes it creates unneccessary arguments or conflicts. so thanks to you too for causing me to acknowledge that.


~Sadie fly-by-nursing1.gifintactlact.gif  guitar.gif sewmachine.gif - mom to dd 9/15/01, ds 11/12/03 {ubac}, and ds 4/29/2011, wife to Mitchell.  pos.gif coming soon in late June!
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#11 of 14 Old 01-03-2006, 07:34 PM
 
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Originally Posted by kitty waltz
thank you altair! I have one of those social stories books on my amazon wish list- I think Ill get it right away. really, thanks for giving me something I can use!

You m ean a book about how to make social stories or a book that IS a social story? don't waste money buying one that IS one, b/c they are much more productive when you make them yourself. If you want any help doing that, let me know, I make tons of them.

good luck!
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#12 of 14 Old 01-03-2006, 08:50 PM
 
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I hope Im not sidetracking the thread.

I just ordered it! Oh No! this is the book I ordered:
"The Autism Social Skills Picture Book"
by Jed Baker


How could I take my own pictures if putting my dd in {x} situation is so stressful?

~Sadie fly-by-nursing1.gifintactlact.gif  guitar.gif sewmachine.gif - mom to dd 9/15/01, ds 11/12/03 {ubac}, and ds 4/29/2011, wife to Mitchell.  pos.gif coming soon in late June!
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#13 of 14 Old 01-03-2006, 09:13 PM
 
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Originally Posted by kitty waltz
I hope Im not sidetracking the thread.

I just ordered it! Oh No! this is the book I ordered:
"The Autism Social Skills Picture Book"
by Jed Baker


How could I take my own pictures if putting my dd in {x} situation is so stressful?

That's different from what I was talking about-- a social story is a story created for a child about a particular situation. Carol Gray (http://www.thegraycenter.org/) teaches how to do this.

Basically, you choose something that stresses the child out or that you want to work on. You write a story with a lot of descriptive sentences (describing what's going on around the child when this happens), a few sentences about how others are feeling/what they are thinking, and then 1-2 directive sentences telling the child what s/he CAN do in that situation. you are REALLY careful never to use the words "always" or "never" or anything absolute. Use a lot of "sometimes" or "usually."

A really simple one would be (a new page for each line):

On Sunday mornings my family likes to go out to breakfast.
When I go to the restaurant, I like to sit at the table in the front.
Usually, the table in the front is empty. The waitress will usually bring us to that table if we ask her.
Sometimes, there is someone else sitting at that table. They got there before we did, and they probably like that table too.
If we ask them to move, they would probably not be happy. They are enjoying their breakfast.
I can sit at another table in the restaurant. It is ok to sit at different tables.
The waitress will still know where to find me!
If I am sad about sitting at a new table, I can ask my mom for my favorite crayons. If I yell, the other people in the restaurant will be angry that they cannot eat their breakfast quietly.
I will try to sit at a new table. Maybe next time my favorite table will be free!


***** Now the child reads this pretty much every day if they want to, or at least until they don't need it anymore. They often need to hear VERY explicitly how other people are feeling and how they can appropriately respond. An older AS child I once talked to told me that they make him feel like he is "clued in" to the world, to what other people pick up naturally.

Now in terms of getting pictures-- they don't have to be exact. You can have a picture of the child with a crayon that isn't in the restuarant. You can COLOR that picture. You can use clipart. I LOVE using the digital camera to make my books, but you don't have to do it that way, most people use icons/drawn pictures.

Or, some children might be so excited about the fact that mommy is making a secret book that they will "pose" for the pictures in normally stressful situations.
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#14 of 14 Old 01-03-2006, 09:24 PM
 
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oh I see big difference! The book I ordered should still be useful.

I already sometimes make little books for the kids, of photos and a simple storyline, from when we went to the zoo or something. It would be easy to make some for these rigidity issues. My dd would respond better to real images but never pose for them! I bet she would like drawings, tho. Thanks again. Ive heard of carol gray and her stories before but I always saw them in comic book form which is useless to my dd. You are very helpful!

~Sadie fly-by-nursing1.gifintactlact.gif  guitar.gif sewmachine.gif - mom to dd 9/15/01, ds 11/12/03 {ubac}, and ds 4/29/2011, wife to Mitchell.  pos.gif coming soon in late June!
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