Big Picture v’s Granular Thinking: The Power of Perspective

by | Feb 19, 2024

As mothers of autistic children, we are always thinking and analysing (overanalysing if I’m truthfully honest) about the here and now along with the future.

Do these questions often come up for you?

Am I doing enough?

Is the allied health team the right fit for him or her?

How can I advocate for him/her in kinder?


What life skills can I teach him/her now so that my child can be more independent?

Which social groups can I bring my child to so that he/she can understand more about social cues when they’re older.

Both perspectives can be useful, helpful and are in your control.  So, then I ask you – which one is better?




Both perspectives will help you to help your child in the long run.  In today’s blog I wanted to give you some viewpoints from both perspectives that will help you navigate forward.


Big picture thinking:

Life skills (cooking, baking, how to make the bed, how to vacuum, etc)

Social skills

Modelling (copying what you do or how you speak)

Understanding instructions


Granular thinking

Increasing words though visuals and visual schedules.

Using an AAC device

Teaching toilet training

Learning to ask for help.


As you can see, both lists are helpful, yet you wouldn’t take a 2-year-old non-verbal child and teach him how to cook.  There is a time and place for each of these items, however, it’s important to keep them in your mind so that you can cover all basis.

Sometimes as mums we get stuck in the granular thinking and can’t zoom out and look at the big picture.  The main reason for that is simply because we can’t always visualise what the big picture would look like.  Goodness, we can’t even picture what next week, month, or year will look like and here I am asking you about what it’s going to look like when your kid is an adult.


I’ve seen parents of typical children do so much for their children that the child never learns how to do it for themselves.  A perfect example is the European mama bear who does it all for their kid because she loves him or her so much but when they eventually move out, they struggle to do a lot of things for themselves.

This journey that you’re on holds a space for both the here and now and what’s going to happen in the future.


So I ask you – what big picture v’s granular thinking are you doing about yourself?


The big picture could be:

How much exercise you’re doing right now so that your future self will thank you?

Prioritising sleep v’s staying up late to watch Netflix because you need down time knowing that the sleep will help you to function and be a less cranky mum the next day?


The granular thinking could be:

How well are you eating today?

Did you consume too much sugar and caffeine v’s the amount of water you consumed?

How much negative self-talk did you tell yourself today?

How can you be kinder to yourself?


The thought process isn’t just about your child.  Your thinking also impacts your child.  I encourage you to take a moment and write out your big picture thinking v’s your granular thinking for both you and your child.  You’ll be amazed what you’ll come up and how you’ll feel when it’s finally out of your head and onto paper.


Let me know how you go.

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