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The Core Ingredient to Creating Growth in Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome

Wed, Sep 15th, 2010

Quite often, in my work with the parents, it is difficult to understand the magnitude of the effort and complexity of children's avoidance to change. Children will do just about anything, as I have witnessed, to avoid changing. It's not just about behaving and making good choices, it's about change of any sort. Children are not only very clever, but are far more clever than they are usually given credit for.

Sometimes we can support this dysfunctional system by meeting the children in what they are doing versus what we would like them to do. We usually do this by trying to change the child instead of providing opportunities for the child to change. Before we know it, all of our time and energy is going to the behavior we are hoping to eliminate and this ultimately reinforces the behavior we are hoping will change. We can either do this by our words or our actions. From my experience with children on the spectrum, they are looking for this equation and find it extremely useful to further avoid growing. This way of coping is not conscious or unlike what the rest of us do when we are asked to change, but children on the spectrum are extremely talented at using this against us.

If the majority of our program happens during the child's difficult moments, the child learns that this is the best way to get attention and control. It is imperative to have the majority of your time and energy invested into what you would like to happen as opposed to what is happening and what is the frustration. This is as simple to get past as it is as simple to be stuck in. Examples of existing and expected behavior include, hitting vs. communicating, repetitive behavior vs. growth or tantrums vs. flexibility.

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