One fairly common aspect of many cognitive disabilities is what's called rigid thinking. That's kind of a black and white absolutist view.
For instance, for Patrick, Sunday is Subway day. This is his routine. You cannot have Subway at a different Subway, nor can you have Subway on a Saturday, because it's not just about having Subway. It's about having that Subway on that day.
Or, if someone says, "Take your medicine at 4:30," you might find someone who just doesn't take it if they notice that it's 4:33.
So, today, M had diarrhea twice in two hours. We called home. Both M's parents have cognitive disabilities. Her mom asked to talk to me.
"The doctor said that the medicine we give her for her constipation could cause diarrhea."
"Oh...she started a new medicine?"
"Really? When did she start it? Because she hasn't done this at school before."
See, M's doctor probably did say it could cause diarrhea. And in M's mom's rigid thinking, if she has diarrhea, that must be the cause.
Figuring that we were all well and truly contaminated no matter what happened, I decided to compromise.
"Well, I'm not sure that's it, since this has never happened before, and she's been on it so long."
"But, I'll tell you what -- I'll let her stay for right now, but if she has diarrhea one more time, I'll have to send her home, because this just isn't what we've seen with M before."
Lo and behold....