Autistic people will also use the same phrase repeatedly or do the same actions many times in a row. With a medium to high functioning child with this disorder, parents or caregivers can use that to their advantage in a way to help the child.
I have an Autistic child who is now twenty. He has had the medical labels of ADHD and developmentally delayed. Uninformed adults and children have also called him all sorts of inappropriate names.
When he was little, he had a fascination with numbers. He was counting to twenty by the time he was three and would line things up to count them. At four, he was writing numbers and within the year, he was doing addition of multiple numbers. He was not even in elementary school yet so this appeared to be a ‘gift’. I was shocked at the way his development was so crazy. He was doing complex math for a 4-5 year old but he could not remember to control his body functions. When the effects of ADHD kept him up, he kept busy with math. It was entertainment for him, and he was learning so I wrote him math problems.
Retaining common knowledge is a big problem. It seemed my son always had memory problems, like between the third and fourth grade summer break when he forgot how to spell his name. His name is a common name, but somehow it was forgotten over those two months. As he has grown older, more things he should have remembered have become lost in the recesses of his brain. I have learned to reinforce those skills he needs to survive. He liked to write so every day I gave him paper and he always wrote his name on the top before he doodled, and this kept him in the habit.
Now that he is an adult, he still has trouble remembering things that should have stuck up there. The memory problems seemed to come into play in a large way when he was seventeen or so. He combats it by sticking a routine, and as his mom, I know he needs to break out of that routine so I break his loner routine at random times on purpose so he gets the social interaction he needs. I will have him do some physical activity, which is good for him.
The steps to cooking anything need to be as simple as possible for it to stick in his brain. Yet he can do a complex math problem and explain how to do it. This is not selective memory as some people have called it, but a real problem. For life skills, we practice often because he will need these skills to survive. To make it appear that it is not a lesson, I ask him to help me cook or help with whatever task I am doing.
We are combating the effects of an Autistic brain with common sense, and he is learning at a pace, which is non-threatening to him. Since I have used this approach since he was young, it is just a part of life. Having him actively working with me, he is reinforcing those communication skills, which are vital to him.