Perseverate Much?

Ever notice that while we admire, even honour people who Persevere through the hard times, a tiny little change to Perseverate drives us around the bend?

If you are not familiar with the difference, here’s an example.  To perserverate is to get stuck on a topic (or phrase) that is repeated until those around you would happily poke your eyeballs out with a fork.  By contrast, to persevere means to overcome adversity (like, say the impulse to poke out a perseverating child’s eyeballs with a fork).

One might also notice this tendancy in elderly folks whose mind is starting to wander.  They repeat the same story over and over.  We dismiss this as an irritation of the aging process.  (Don’t kid yourself, it’s irritating, but, hey you have to put up with Grandma.)

Or, you might notice that you are also guilty of perseverating.  Have you ever repeated, somewhat incessantly, “Get dressed.”  “Get dressed.”  “The bus will be here in 5 minutes, Get dressed.”

It occured to me this morning that the perseverating that we often see in folks with Fragile X and Autism seems to affect their parents too.

Perhaps someone with some big Scientist-type credentials would like to do a research study on this.  Does my child learn to perseverate from my constant nagging or is it behaviour I learned from them?  After all, if a child continually talks about a subject, eventually I do take notice. 

This is something I think might be worth exploring.  Also, dear Scientists, if you could design a better ipod ear phone, one that blocks out the sound of my perseverating child without simultaneously permanently damaging my hearing because I had to turn the volume up so loud, I’d really appreciate that too.

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3 thoughts on “Perseverate Much?

  1. This fascinates me. My son totally does this and I nag all the time. Now my daughter who is three and neurotypical is picking it up. She will ask for something a dozen times even if I have already said yes and am in the process of getting it. It drives me nuts!

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