#5: Stuck in an Endless Loop

Lesson #5:   Perseveration requires great patience.

            In programming, we add steps and test after each iteration. If we make a mistake, we can introduce an error known as an endless loop. In this situation, we’ll notice that the program repeats the same steps repeatedly (an endless loop), and that’s just how my son’s mind seems to work sometimes. Ideas get trapped and he repeats a train of thought over and over until we move him along by redirecting him to another topic, activity, or idea.

            Times of stress or frustration create endless loops for him. It is as if his mind is paralyzed and his processing temporarily shuts down. During these times, it is impossible to introduce new ideas or concepts. We use a lot of redirection. We try to reduce the stressor and work through it. We make sure he’s not hungry (protein is his friend), and we direct him to calming activities like riding his bike, walking to the park, going fishing, rolling on a ball, swinging at the park, jumping on a trampoline, or rolling across the floor. Often alternating combinations of vestibular and proprioceptive input help him refocus and move on. Sometimes we show him an interesting photograph or start a game that involves tactile input.

            It usually takes a bit of time, but he eventually “snaps out” of the endless loop and moves to the next thing. Patience is so important!


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