Based on what I have read, it is common for people with autism to take things very literally. I can't speak for others, but we definitely see that at our house, especially with Cuddlebug. Here are some examples just from the last couple of weeks:
Cuddlebug (angry): "Mama, Dada told a LIE." (saying the word "lie" with utter contempt)
me: "What do you mean?"
CB: "He said I'm tired! I'm not tired! He told a LIE."
me (stifling a laugh): "Well, he probably thought you looked tired."
CB: "But I'm NOT tired!"
me: "Ok, well even if you're not tired it's still bedtime."
CB: "But I'm not tired."
me: "Tell you what, since you're not tired, how about if you read a story or two before you go to bed?"
CB (smiling): "Ok"
me: "But after that, you still need to go to bed so you'll be rested for tomorrow, ok?"
We came up with a new rule about video games. If the boys' schoolwork that they bring home each day is all correct, they can play their video games for a while after their homework is completed. If they missed some questions on the schoolwork they bring home, then we want to spend some time working with them on what they missed to make sure they'll understand it next time (this is in addition to time spent on regular homework), which means less time for video games.
This wasn't intended to be punitive, but that was initially how they took it. We tried to explain that we're trying to help them, and make sure that they understand everything that they need to on their schoolwork. Dh used the phrase, "we push you because we know you can do it." To which Cuddlebug responded, "but if you push me that will hurt."
I guess he thought we were going to physically "push" him, so we had to re-explain that what we meant was "encourage." You'd think we'd have learned by now, but there are still misunderstandings that we don't always see coming :P. I think they were both ok with the new rule and clear on the reason behind it by the time we were done talking, but it was a longer discussion that I really intended to have in order to get there...
and this weekend... the boys decided to play wii for the first time in a long time, and took turns playing it a LOT.
dh: "It's time to turn the game off, you've been playing all day."
CB (indignant): "NO, we haven't!!"
me and dh: "Yes, you have."
CB: "I haven't been playing ALL DAY!"
me: "you've been playing for a long time, pretty much all day. It's time to take a break."
At this point, CB got overly angry and dh sent him to his room. I went up a few minutes later to check on him.
CB: "Mama, you weren't listening to me."
me: "About the game?"
CB: "Yes, you said I played it all day. I didn't."
me: "Well, you played it this morning, and you played it this afternoon. That's a lot of playing."
CB: "Yeah, but I also played upstairs. All day means I played it from the morning to the night. I didn't play it all day."
me: "Well, that's true, you did take a break for a while. But you did play the game a lot today, right?"
me: "Ok. So it's time to take a break."
AAAHHHH! I should have realized that was the problem sooner. He didn't even so much mind taking a break from the game, he was just upset that we said he played "all day" when technically, that wasn't true. Ok, I stand corrected.
Sigh. Anyone else have kids who take things sooo literally??
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