Fathers For Autism

I am a road-worn father of an amazing autistic daughter and NT son. I started this blog to provide information, a sounding board and a voice for fathers of autistic children.

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Thursday, March 14, 2013

Devil's Advocate

"Devil's Advocate." 

For those who don't know this term, it is where someone indicates flaws in a plan or how something could go wrong. 

This can be a useful vehicle when brainstorming an idea or tackling a tricky problem. 

It can also be devastating to positivity and progress if wielded too heavy-handedly, especially when it is always one-sided. 

For example, if a couple of people are trying to solve a child's behavior issue (chewing toys, screaming, etc.) and one person has been presenting ideas and thoughts on possible solutions while the other continues to knock them down, progress will never be made. In fact, the end result is usually frustration and bitterness. Typically, there will also be a reluctance to have future conversations.

In the end, the child loses.

Being able to foresee potential pitfalls is extremely helpful and needed considering what's at stake, but simply calling out why things won't work, without presenting ideas that might work, will make people avoid talking to you.

Why would they want to?

Ideas are personal. They come from a place of creativity, positivity, insecurity, and hope.

When someone presents a new idea, they are placing a part of themselves into your hands for review and scrutiny. When the ideas are around the development of their child, the stakes and emotions are even higher.

Give a little. Try to consider. Don't be a jerk.

The key to constructive conversation is compromise, balance, and effective listening.

The goal is the same: do the best we can for our children. How we get there has everything to do with how well we can work together.

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