Challenges of Autism Spectrum Disorder: Part 1 – Flexibility

Similarities in those with ASD

When discussing ASD, the quote, “If you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism.” is frequently heard.  Although this is undoubtedly the case, there are some similarities amongst people on the spectrum.

Flexibility

One similarity in those with Autism is a difficulty with flexibility.  We’re not talking about doing the splits.  We’re talking about mental flexibility.  Mental flexibility includes the ability to change plans when something unexpected happens.  Often following a conversation as it loops with each individual adding their own comments can be troublesome.  These skills are often problematic for people that have Autism Spectrum Disorder/ Asperger’s Syndrome and these challenges can be unique to the individual.

As a conversation progresses the person on the spectrum:
  • May get stuck on a previous topic, sounding a bit awkward.
  • Could sound as if you are giving a lecture with little, if any, input from other friends.
  • May continue on this subject despite the shrinking group of friends, as one by one, they go on their way.
In the case of being flexible with changing plans the person with ASD May:
  • Repeat the same phrase or question over and over, despite reassurances and answers.
  • Go ahead with the original plan, causing worry, discomfort, and possible injury to yourself and others.
  • Seek comfort in a preferred topic or activity despite the expectations of the current environment.
  • May rock, fidget or use a repetitive movement to self-soothe.

For those with autism, flexibility can be learned. Need help with mental flexibility? Check out IndependentwithAutism.com for more information.  For more on the challenges of Autism read part two of this series.

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