Pervasive Parenting by Kodey Toney
I want to revisit Theory of mind again this week. More specifically I want to talk about the lack of theory of mind in those on the spectrum. For those who don't remember I will give a brief synopsis, but you can also visit my Facebook page, Pervasive Parenting (Autism Column), or all of the columns I've written over the years are archived on Blogger.com
Theory of mind is just the idea that what is in my mind is in your mind, or at least the lack of theory of mind is. What that means is that people on the spectrum tend to think that you must know what I know. If I know that there is a ball in a basket, then you should too even though you were nowhere around to see it being put in the basket.
It's confusing I know, but I want to share why I'm bringing this up. Lately Konner has been disobeying me, and I feel that the theory of mind process is partly to blame.
So recently we have had a stray dog in the neighborhood. Konner and Kruz, in their adventures riding scooters and bicycles up and down the road have become obsessed with this little chihuahua named Burrito (I don't know if that's the real name or something they have made up). First of all I don't want another dog around the house, and second, I don't know if this dog has fleas, disease, or any other nastiness. This is why I'm adamant that they leave it alone and quit playing with it. They have brought it into our fenced yard and it has fought with Penny, out dachshund.
We also have a rule that they can't go outside to ride bikes until Either Jen or I wake up to watch them.
That being said, I woke up last Saturday morning when I heard the front door slam. I'll admit I was half awake, but it was a weekend and I wanted to sleep in a little later than usual. I ran to the door and saw Konner in his scooter. I made him get back into the house. Then I started asking him why he went outside.
This is where the theory of mind concept started kicking in. I will say this is not new, he has always done this, but this is when I realized why.
Konner said that he was on his scooter looking for Burrito.
I said, "Haven't I told you not to go outside until one of us are up?"
He said, "Yes."
I then asked why he did it.
He said that he was looking for Burrito.
I asked, "Haven't I told you to leave that dog alone?"
"Yes," he replied.
"Then why were you outside, riding your scooter when you knew you weren't supposed to?"
"I was looking for Burrito."
"Didn't I tell you to leave him alone?"
"Yes." Then why did you do it?"
Now, I'm looking for the answer, "I don't know," or "I'm sorry," or something to let me know he understands.
His reply though is, "I was looking for Burrito."
We do this a lot. He tells me what he was doing and why instead of why he shouldn't. We talk in circles. I guess the good thing is that it is always the truth.