Child: I am really struggling with Thing 1. How do I fix it?
Me (knows solution from long experience with both thing and child): Have you considered trying action X?
Child: That won’t work.
Me: I know it feels that way, but have you considered Supporting Evidence A?
Child: Evidence A has nothing to do with me because of Thing 2.
Me: Okay. Then perhaps we need to start with working on Thing 2. Have you considered trying action Y?
Child: That would work, but I can’t Action Y because of Thing 3.
Me: I don’t understand how Thing 3 is related to Action Y.
Child: Because of Random Idea 7.
Me still not understanding, but deciding to avoid the rabbit hole of Random Idea 7: Okay. Action Z can also help with Thing 2.
Child: I hate it when you tell me to do Action Z. Stop nagging me.
Me: But you wanted to solve Thing 2, and Action Z is very effective for doing that. Take a look at Supporting Evidence B.
Child: I reject Supporting Evidence B. Thing 2 doesn’t matter because Thing 3 is my real problem.
Me feeling completely lost now: Didn’t we start this conversation worried about a different Thing than that?
Child frustrated: Oh never mind. I’m done.
Then the child walks out leaving me with dangling threads of at least three rhetorical arguments that support my advocacy of Actions X, Y, & Z. I also have a lingering sense of frustration because Actions X, Y, & Z are foundation elements of adulthood and they’re being rejected as irrelevant. It’s like a person dying of thirst because the water they are given isn’t the color they want it to be. Autism bestows some advantages, but sometimes the disadvantages of it prevent the person from accessing the advantages. Bridging the gaps in between my basic comprehension of the world and theirs is complicated.
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