Michael grew out of his roller skates. Although his mother looked everywhere for new skates, all she could find in his shoe size were roller blades. He would not even look at these and continued to pull out his roller skates for months, complaining to his mother about his skates not fitting over and over. His mother had almost given up on the roller blades but they were still tucked away in the closet. Luckily, inspiration hit this week and she had an idea of how she might get Michael to accept the change.
His mother and I have been working our way through a great book of parent strategies called Parenting Your Asperger Child by Alan Sohn, Ed.D and Cathy Grayson, M.A. Although the diagnostic label of "Asperger" does not fit Michael, some of the strategies in the book have been working. We sometimes need to modify the strategy slightly because Michael does not understand the abstract language that the authors suggest parents use in some of the strategies. For example, one strategy is to use the phrase "Bite the bullet" to remind children to just do a thing even though you don't like to do it. Michael was horrified by the dangerous idea of putting a bullet in his mouth. Mom could not even discuss what it meant with him because he was disgusted with the literal meaning of the words and could not think past this first impression. Lately, though, one strategy straight out of the book has been working. Michael's mom has been helping Michael practice some new, more mature ways of interacting socially and using the rational that since Michael will soon be turning nine, he needs to get ready to do things the nine year old way. When Michael pulled out his skates, yet again, and brought them to mom complaining that they did not fit, his mother said, "Michael, roller skates are the eight-year-old way of skating." She pulled the new roller blades out of the closet and said, "Roller blades are the nine-year-old way of skating."
Michael pulled the new roller blades on with a smile and kept them on for the next four hours.