When my son was insisting on closing every door we open, I used that to teach him "open" and "close". I also would sabotage the environment where I would open doors on purpose so he would ask me to close it using his Dynavox (speech device).. That worked specially well on the kitchen cabinets where he could not reach them to close them himself. In essence , instead of looking at his obsession with closing doors as a negative, you could turn it into a positive and a teaching opportunity.
The same goes for those on the spectrum with special interest. Try to incorporate their interest in the teaching materials. When I was teaching my son how to do 'word search', I took advantage of his interest in Disney characters and used them as words to search for in the puzzle. I did the same when teaching him spelling, reading, and typing.
Another application of turning a lemon into lemonade or a disability into an ability ....
Eric, my 14 year old non-verbal son with autism has no verbal speech. At some point, he was diagnosed with a very low IQ and supposedly with a mentality of a toddler. However, any one who spends 5 minutes with him begs to differ. Over the years, he has often surprised us by how smart he is and his capacity of learning things independently like how to use Google on the computer and get to Youtube on my cell phone.
Gina Mouser lives in Houston, Texas and is a mother of two boys, one with non-verbal autism. She is a also an autism consultant with over1 5 years of experience.