Helping Your Asperger’s Teen to Eliminate Thinking Errors

Many children and teens with Asperger’s (AS) and High-Functioning Autism (HFA) experience “thinking errors,” largely due to a phenomenon called “mind-blindness.” Mind-blindness can be described as a cognitive disorder where the child is unable to attribute mental states (e.g., emotions, beliefs, desires, motives) to himself or others. This ability to develop a mental awareness of what is in the mind of another person is known as the “Theory of Mind.”

Thinking errors are irrational patterns of cognition that can cause your AS or HFA teen to feel bad and sometimes act in self-defeating ways. If she becomes more upset the more she thinks about a troubling circumstance, she may want to consider the possibility of thinking in a different way. And you, as the parent, can help with this.

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  1. My grandson seems to be totally opposite of this. He accentuates the positives to such a extent that he believes that although he has AS, it doesn't affect him at all. And even though he was caught red-handed doing something bad, he totally denies it until the end. If he does choose to admit to it then, he doesn't see anything wrong with the behaviour or that it is something that should not be repeated (despite very clear discussion).

  2. @Chris
    My step-son too! We are really struggling with his extreme self-approving behavior. Whatever he does is completely ok, but what everyone else does is wrong... even if they are the same thing. In his mind he can do no wrong because it's what he wants. He refuses to do the things he needs to do because he doesn't want to, or he does things he's not supposed to because he wants to.

    This in particular, DISQUALIFYING THE POSITIVE, is the opposite for him, he disqualifies the negative. He dislikes the negative so much that he has said "I don't want to think of the bad things that could happen so I only think of the good stuff" and in turn continuously chooses actions that get him in trouble or have a high negative result because he refuses to acknowledge that negative things could happen. He also refuses to work on the situation and practice thinking differently because thinking of only the good things is pleasurable. We are completely stumped.

  3. Oh, Stephanie, I know what you mean. My grandson is my daughter's step-son, and there are issues with his birth mother, so she and hubby are also aware of pushing too hard and him choosing to go live with her. If that happened, it would not be very good for him at all. We are stumped too, especially with the extra hurdle.


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