Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Rigidity of Mind and how to overcome it!

Following interests can overcome inflexible attitudes!
One of the biggest disabilities for autistic children is overcoming an unexpected situation.It's as though their brains come across a brick wall which they are unable to climb over or get round  and they become 'stuck' unable to move forwards.
Only this morning my son woke up very excited as the long awaited Xbox version of Minecraft was being launched. I could tell something was wrong as soon as he walked in the room, his face was grumpy, he wouldn't speak and I knew I was in for a long day.
When he finally told me that the game wasn't available yet, I suggested that we go ,as planned, to the shop to buy his Microsoft points so as soon as the game came out he could buy it. I received a tirade of abuse because he wasn't going to 'waste' his money until he knew how many points he needed.
Now I have two other lovely, polite well mannered children and it's really hard to stand there being sworn at but I've learned over the years that non reaction is the best way to deal with his oppositional behaviour. Despite the inappropriate swear words, they are his way of expressing anger and frustration and a better way of dealing with it than physical aggression so instead I held my tongue and will deduct a pound from his pocket money next week as agreed with him several months ago. Taking money away from my son hasn't stopped him swearing  but it is the most effective punishment as he loves buying things.Furthermore he accepts it as a consequence to swearing!
I asked him in which country the game was being launched and he decided that it might be America  so  I suggested they were several hours behind us. He immediately relaxed again and went to view the update.When he came back he'd discovered  he needed 1600 points.
I again broached the subject of going out to buy them and was yet again arraigned for 'not listening'. Instead of a reply I received a lecture on 'not listening' and still didn't know whether I was going shopping or not! After much prodding on my part and a lot of shouting on his part we finally understood each other. He knew how many points he needed and I was taking him to buy them!
We drove to Asda, bought the points and, as I'd pre-prepared him for a stop at the store so I could buy coffee that was al-right too! As I went into the store I asked him to consider if he wanted to stop at Macdonalds for an ice cream.No reply to that, but he did ask if I would buy him a drink. I came out the store with a drink and a chocolate biscuit. He took the drink and said " thank you". He put the biscuit on the back seat. He hadn't asked for that!
Had he been several years younger we'd have prepared a picture schedule to show him where we were going. He's too old for that now but I do have to stick rigidly to where I've said we are going. Macdonalds wasn't in the plan so although most kids would have jumped at the chance it was outside my son's comfort zone today. Whilst I can't deviate from the plan I've learned that  at least  it enables me to go out. That gives me more freedom than I had when he refused to go anywhere . I've also discovered that  a bi-product  of time spent in the car is  productive reading of  library books or listening to audio tapes something which my oppositional son would refuse to do if asked!
Rigidity of mind can be frustrating but with creative thinking there are things you can do to minimise the impact on your family.


  1. I can relate in the sense that my youngest son Alfred is rather like that, aged 3. I wonder if this is a sign of things to come, or simply his age now.... I have so much respect for your patience, it must be hard not to flip out and react angrily. I will read your blog with great respect and think I could probably learn a lot about patience from you!

  2. I think that being blessed with a special needs child not only has its challenges but also teaches you great strengths. Patience is something I've had to learn along the way, it hasn't come easily and I often failed but I've learned so much from my son and have a lot to be thankful for!