I've mentioned before the importance of details, thought I'd share this as just one example of the importance of details to kids on the spectrum (well, mine at least).
Bearhug and Cuddlebug were three years old, and we were visiting my SIL out of town. They had a pool in their neighborhood and the boys wanted to go swimming, but we didn't have any floaties for them so we needed to make a quick trip to the store. We told them we were going to Walmart and headed out.
Walmart was just a few minutes' drive away. Everything was going fine until it was time to get out of the car. Bearhug took one look at the store and started getting upset. He refused to get out of the car and the more we tried to convince him the more agitated he became. Finally, I agreed to wait in the car with him while everyone else went inside.
With just the two of us and no immediate pressure to get out of the car, he relaxed a bit and started trying to tell me what was wrong.
He said he wanted to go to Walmart. I told him we were at Walmart and showed him the sign. He wasn't reading yet but he recognized the signs of a number of his favorite stores. He repeatedly insisted that this was NOT Walmart. Perplexed, I asserted equally firmly that it WAS.
Finally he found the words he needed and blurted out, "Not Walmart RECTANGLE, Mama, Walmart STAR!"
I started to ask him what he meant by "Walmart rectangle" and then it dawned on me. The Walmart near my SIL's house had a hyphen (or rectangle) in the middle Wal-mart.
The Wal*mart near our house that we usually go to, has a star in the middle instead, like this:
I had never even noticed the difference, much less realized how much it would impact him :(.
Armed with this new insight into why he refused to go into the store, I was able to explain to him that "Wal-mart rectangle" and "Wal*mart star" are indeed the same store, and that sometimes they like to use a rectangle and sometimes they like to use a star, but it's all the same store. He was skeptical, but he finally agreed to go into the store with me and join the rest of the family.
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