The inability to understand the concept of consequences

posted by Jeff | Wednesday, May 11, 2016, 9:14 PM | comments: 0

Kids with ASD are developmentally all over the map, at an age when kids already are wildly different in terms of progress. As Simon nears the end of kindergarten, he's made huge progress in a lot of areas, and we continue to learn coping strategies around his autism related challenges. It's still a mixed bag, as he can read nearly at a second grade level, but can at times struggle with clothing that's inside-out. As an adult it's hard to understand that this is possible, but as someone who appreciates the atypical ways in which an ASD brain is wired, it makes sense.

Our current challenge has proven to be tough to crack. Simon is having a hard time understanding the concept of consequences, or even basic cause and effect. At first, one may write off his behavior as six-year-old defiance. However, when he believes that his sadness is caused by others reacting to his own actions, and he can't reconcile that his action caused the reaction, it takes him to the kind of meltdown that we would typically associate with some other circumstance or social contract that he can't reconcile.

Here's a concrete example: Simon sucked in some medicine via a syringe, for reasons we can't understand, he randomly spit it out. It's not the waste that's an issue, but not knowing how much he might actually have taken. In any case, this caused anger on our part, and his response was that we were making him feel bad, and to please stop. We've had similar scenarios in the last few months.

The frustrating thing here is that we haven't had a successful strategy to help him understand this. When we try to explain it, he wants no part of it. I'm sure we'll eventually figure out a way to get through to him, but trying to understand how he sees the world in this way is difficult.


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