The first part of helping your child with rigid thinking is to work on your own frustration level. Understanding that her thought patterns are not intentional stubbornness but a true inability to consider different perspectives can help give you the patience you need. Imagine if you were on one side of a solid door and she were on the other side and you insist she comment on your new haircut. She tells you she can’t see it because of the door. You keep insisting that she comment on your haircut. Unless the door opens, she will never be able to see your haircut. On a daily basis, Asperger’s Disorder children and teens cannot see what is on the other side of the door. Furthermore, they don’t even know there is a door that they could open to see what’s on the other side.
Over the years, you will have to work at prompting your child to give consideration to different ideas. Always acknowledge your child’s viewpoint: “I can see why you would think that,” before proposing an alternative: “Here’s another way to think about it.” Don’t insist that you are right and he is wrong. Instead, use language like, “What would you say to . . . ?” Think of it in terms of the old phrase “You can lead a horse to water but you cannot make him drink.”