Getting hung up on the details and missing the big picture* is a recurring theme at our house. From my understanding of Asperger’s, it is a fairly common occurrence to get lost in those details.
When Connor does his nightly reading, he often flips from the cover to an inside page, several times, to compare the cover photo to an inside photo. He’s fixated on seeing if the pictures are an exact match, or if there is some detail missing. He will flip through the book, counting the pages, instead of just reading. Sometimes he will count the number of letters in words. Twenty minutes of reading is sometimes an exercise in how much patience I can muster after a very long day.
And always I remind him, “you’re getting lost in the little, unimportant details. The big picture is in reading and understanding the story.”
Sometimes our conversations are the same way. He may dial in on a particular word I’ve used, and soon we’re off on a tangent that’s completely unrelated to the original topic.
It’s a slow, arduous process. But it’s a challenge that we continue to work on daily, because I know this will be the cause of much frustration and misunderstanding in his life if he doesn’t learn how to step back and see the larger picture. I worry that he will struggle as an adult if he can’t get past reading too much into little details, and completely missing the larger point.
With any luck, persistence, time, and maturity will work some magic. I would hate to see him miss out on seeing a beautiful masterpiece because he was too busy zeroing in on the individual smudges.
*Edit: the clinical term is called central coherence (thanks Sharon!).