Behavioral and Cognitive Rigidity in Children with Asperger’s

Behavioral rigidity refers to a child’s difficulty maintaining appropriate behavior in new and unfamiliar situations. The opposite of rigidity would be flexibility, which enables children to shift effortlessly from task to task in the classroom, from topic to topic in conversation, from one role to another in games, etc.

Rigidity can also affect thinking. Cognitive rigidity occurs when the child is unable to consider alternatives to the current situation, alternative viewpoints, or innovative solutions to a problem. The child with rigid thinking tends to view things in “either-or” terms (e.g., things are either right or wrong, good or bad). He or she wants concrete, black and white answers. The “gray areas” of life are very uncomfortable (e.g., often has an exact way of doing things with no variations).

Children with Asperger’s (AS) and High-Functioning Autism (HFA) often demonstrate extreme forms of rigidity or inflexibility. This may manifest itself as (a) difficulty ending an intense emotional feeling, (b) making transitions during the school day (e.g., from lunch back to the classroom), and (c) tolerating changes in schedules or everyday routines. 

==> Here is a 3-step process for helping your AS or HFA child with his/her rigidity issues...




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