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Your Asperger Child: The Reasons Behind the Behavior

Black-and-White Thinking and Mindblindness
The obsessive-compulsive approach to life results in the narrow range of interests and insistence on set routines typical of an Asperger child. However, it usually starts as a cognitive (thinking) issue before it becomes a behavioral one. Cognitive issues, such as the inability to take someone else's perspective (mindblindness) and the lack of cognitive flexibility (black-and-white thinking), cause many of the behaviors we see. We know there is a cognitive element by looking at the child's behaviors. There is always some distress, anxiety, or obsession manifested in every inappropriate behavior.

As mentioned, your child's cognitive difficulties lead to inaccurate interpretations and understanding of the world. How someone interprets a situation determines how he will respond to it. Many times the interpretation of an event is either not an accurate one or not one that leads to positive or prosocial actions. If the event can be reinterpreted for him, it might lead to a more productive outcome. In doing this, we must first try to understand how the individual interprets a situation. All of the individual's behaviors are filtered through his perception of the way the world works.

Take a look at the questions in the sidebar as they pertain to a problem situation. Try to answer all the questions to see which explanation fits the situation the best. Each of these questions represents a problematic way of thinking for your child. As a result of your questioning, it should become clearer that your child is engaging in a nonproductive interpretation and that correcting this faulty thinking with a more positive interpretation could lead to a more positive action. Remember, details are extremely important in trying to understand what is happening and what to do about it. Do not try to intervene until you understand, at least to a small degree, what is happening with your child. Changing thinking becomes a paramount issue, but one that is often neglected. However, successful changes in thinking will dramatically increase the success rate of any strategy you use.



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From Parenting Your Asperger Child by Alan Sohn, Ed.D., and Cathy Grayson, M.A. Copyright © 2005. Used by arrangement with Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

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