Stubborn or Inflexible? High Functioning Autism

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“You have one strong willed child there!”

“She is going to be a leader one day!”

“Boy, she is stubborn!!”

“Your daughter has High Functioning Autism.  You are describing her unwillingness to compromise.  She has trouble being flexible.”

When my daughter was very young, she was very strong willed.  You would ask her do to something, “Pick up your toys.”  “No” she would answer.  Punishment did not phase her.  She had no problem sitting in time out.

It was slightly annoying.  Slightly comical.  But I always felt a sense of pride in watching a skinny little blond girl with a pink tutu on, mud on her face, hands on her hips stand up to everyone.  In my head I would say “She has no fear!” A trait I felt that would carry her far in life.

She always had a problem making friends.  She would walk up to a playground, count the children playing there already and say, “I have 5 new best friends.”  Yet somehow when we left she would have no friends whatsoever.

She had trouble listening at home.  She could be offensive in many ways, including not saying “please, thank you” or “I’m sorry.”  We told her that she was going to have to learn “the hard way” socially since she was not learning social cues at home.  Instead of learning cues, she lost friends.  She cried all the time over everything.  She was no longer happy.  Yet she continued to be stubborn.

A hill of concerns became a mountain of problems, and we reached out for help.  What we called years of sensory issues, social issues and stubbornness, the professionals called “High Functioning Autism.”  Individual therapy and group therapy commenced focusing on ways to help my daughter learn self control, become more self aware and learn social problem solving.  A perfect tool for my daughter was implemented in Superflex, a superhero created to help a person learn social thinking and combat Unthinkables.  For my daughter, she uses Superflex to combat Glassman:


And Rock Brain (Being inflexible, or stubborn)

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Being stubborn can be a trait of a strong willed person.  It can be admirable.  But when being stubborn interferes with your daily life and is making social learning hard to accomplish and understand, it could be something greater.  For us, it showed us it was time to get my daughter help so she could learn these necessary traits.

My daughter is now 8 years old.  She said the words, “I’m sorry” unprompted last week for the first time.  You don’t realize these are words you have never heard until they are spoken.  Things are definitely moving in the right direction!


[Written in response to the prompt word: STUBBORN]


5 thoughts on “Stubborn or Inflexible? High Functioning Autism

  1. Superflex is a wonderful visual aide in teaching about High Functioning Autism. A child can understand and learn to apply the characters they introduce and be more aware how their behavior affects their relationships.

    1. I agree. It also helps me as a parent to help my daughter when I see an “Unthinkable” appear in her behavior. I know how to coach her through the moment. Such a wonderful tool!

  2. Its like you read my mind! You seem to know so much about this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you can do with a few pics to drive the message home a little bit, but other than that, this is excellent blog. A fantastic read. I will definitely be back.

    1. Thank you for the feedback – I will look at adding some more pictures. Glad you enjoy the blog! I’ll keep posting!

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