Rigidity of thinking is the term used for kids with an ASD, not "stubbornness". Whether it's as extreme as Rainman's refusal to fly on an airplane or "four minutes til Wapner" or as mild (I use the term mild VERY loosely) as Ryan's refusal to eat a cheese sandwich for lunch in the summer time because it's not served cold from his lunchbox while sitting in a school cafeteria, this rigidity of thinking can make the best moms and dads lose their minds. However, what it does to my sweet little mule and kids like him, can be paralyzing, stopping these kids in their tracks, just like the so called, stubborn mule. This rigidity to kids on the spectrum is as self-preserving as the mules innate sense to stop working before being worked to death. Ryan is certainly rigid, but with some valuable lessons from Straight Nate and Curvy Herbie, my little boy has learned to bend...sometimes....thanks to a couple of stick figures and to his AWEsome speech therapist.
Ryan's speech therapist, Mrs. P, introduced Straight Nate and Curvy Herbie to Ryan a few years ago during one of their weekly speech therapy sessions. "Curvy Herbie and Straight Nate: A Lesson in Curved Line Thinking", was written by Pam Mari and illustrated by Dawn Rebuck. The book was written to help kids on the autism spectrum who tend to be "straight line thinkers" (non-flexible) become more "curve line thinkers" (flexible). Curvy Herbie is more adventurous and he tries to show Straight Nate that trying new things and accepting change can be fun. This seemed to help Ryan when he was younger, but just last week when Dan tried to get Ryan to "just taste" some grape jelly, he refused. Dan said, "I thought you were a curve line thinker" to which Ryan responded, "Those lines are for babies, they are stupid and they don't mean anything." Apparently, Straight Nate was back on the saddle of his "stubborn" mule and kicked Curvy Herbie's curly haired head with his hooves. As much as Ryan may believe these two stick figures are "babyish", I know that the visuals they provide in his picture taking brain, help him when he is stuck and do indeed make him a little less rigid.
impending danger. It may be alerting him days in advance or showing him a
visual schedule or a plan for something new. Maybe, after all these
years of misunderstanding the intelligent mule, had someone shown the mules a
social story of making it safely across the bridge, we wouldn't say, "stubborn
as a mule", we would say, "smart as a mule" and we would have to find a new
animal to compare our stubborn, refuse to ask for directions, husbands.