We’re having some problems with Elliott at school. It’s not so much a major problem yet but it is being problematic and what happened yesterday is a perfect example. I’m not going into detail on this because the specifics don’t matter and are way too tedious to recount anyway.
Essentially, the problem is that Elliott is coming home from school reporting problems and when I speak to his teachers about it, their story is very different than Elliott’s. Someone’s got to be lying right? Not necessarily.
What we’re seeing is that Elliott latches onto one or two words he hears and filters out everything else. That everything else is the context surrounding the words he’s latched onto. He also focuses on what happened to him and filters out all the things he may have done to contribute to the situation or the context in which things were said to him.
Elliott’s not lying or intentionally misleading us. His perception of what goes on is not right though.
We met with Dr. Pattie last night to discuss this because it’s becoming more and more of an issue. This has to do with the way his brain is wired and there’s no fix for it,at least that I’m aware of. What we can do is work with him on conversational skills and listening to what is actually being said.
Since perception is reality for the person perceiving it, it’s very difficult to convince them that what they feel was said or done, wasn’t meant to be taken the way they took it.
I’m not sure how we are going to proceed but making sure everyone is on the same page is probably a good place to start. The other thing is, we don’t want to assume that it’s always a perception issue because we don’t want him getting a free pass. At the same time, we have to be careful because we don’t want to punish him for things outside of his control. Knowing the difference between the two situations isn’t easy.
It’s also important that he learns actions have consequences. The best analogy I can think of is this. You don’t punish a blind man for not being able to see, but you would punish him for getting behind the wheel of a car and running someone over.
Does that make sense?
We have to find a balance that helps him to learn that things aren’t always as they appear, while still understanding his situation but not letting him use this to manipulate us. Yup, it’s just that easy… 😕