Perseverative thinking is when someone gets an idea in their head and just can’t get it out. The Asperger’s Disorder child has perseverative thoughts almost daily. Some parents have used the terms obsessive or compulsive to describe their child’s perseverative thinking. However, in true obsessive-compulsive disorder, the perseverative thoughts are unwanted and distressing. In Asperger’s Disorder, they are usually pleasant and focused on the child’s special interest. His repetitive thoughts about his special interest drive him to talk about it again and again and again.
Asperger’s Disorder children also demonstrate perseverative thinking in school, where they ask endless questions about a specific topic. The Asperger’s Disorder child may become excited to hear a lesson on the English pilgrims that sailed to America. If he becomes interested in the English ships, he will ask questions about the ships, each one getting more detailed and off the topic of English explorers. The topic of ships gets stuck in his head and he can’t stop thinking about it. His teachers and classmates are annoyed, and he has to be directed to stop asking questions about ships. When he gets home, he will talk about ships and ask question after question after question. When you change the topic, he brings it back to ships.