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BuyerBeware
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22 Jan 2013, 9:23 am

Well, the conference didn't go as badly as I'd feared. Hope it didn't have anything to do with my putting on my suit jacket and my second-best NT behavior, but I'm not going to speculate as I want to keep liking my son's teacher.

He is hyperverbal-- enough so to disrupt class as she is young and feels bad telling him, more or less politely, to please please please shut up. Good lord-- how is he supposed to know when to stop talking if he is not told?? I am sure that figuring it out will come with time (although it never did for me-- my only recourse is to remember to use as few words as possible or to count sentences, and I often get griped at for not volunteering enough information).

I wonder if I could get some suggestions for instructing him on when not to keep talking, alternatives for what to do with what she refers to as "his wonderful ideas" aside from articulating them, immediately, at great length, whether the adult in question has time to listen to them or not.

How do I lovingly install a disconnect switch between his wonderful mind and his rosy little motormouth???

He is emotionally labile-- not prone to be aggressive (thank God we managed to teach that out of him-- at whatever cost-- before sending him to school) but very prone to cry at the least provocation (suggestion, correction-- anything that could vaguely approximate criticism). He's not loud about it (again, thank God) but it is very difficult for a tenderhearted young teacher to take and I am sure will cause him problems down the road (like the chatterbox, he gets this from me and I remember all the trouble it caused me-- buckets and buckets and buckets).

I have suggested she try what I have been doing at home. I have found that no amount of gentleness or comforting helps; comforting actually seems to aggravate the situation and criticisms, however constructive, issued in a soft, gentle voice are actually more likely to provolk tears and terror.

I guess that's because I am, generally, loud. If I'm talking in a very quiet voice, it's probably because I'm a hair's breadth from losing my temper. I don't know how to explain this without having her think we are really psycho around here, or what to expect her to do about it. It isn't as if a kindergarten teacher is going to be permitted to yell-- or as if a raised voice wouldn't be upsetting to other children with more typical households.

So I said I have been sending him to his room to calm down-- which I have, and it does seem to help. She suggested she might send him to the little couch in the reading corner. I made sure to stress that it's not a punishment, but an opportunity to get himself together. It does seem to help (some). Soliciting other thoughts.

She also notices that he seems to lack confidence in his ability to use the skills he possesses in reading and math, and to follow directions. This is something else I recognize in myself-- unless I am sure I can do something perfectly, I have no confidence in my ability to do it at all. At home, though, I see an entirely different child-- he is, with me, overconfident if anything, prone to go charging in headlong and with both feet, at least until he has been badly frightened by something (as in the case where he stumbled and ended up facedown in knee-deep water at 2 and is still terribly unconfident in the water and unwilling to even attempt learning to swim).

I'm pretty sure that's another AS trait. It is not exactly perfectionism. More like frustration intolerance, or fixating on failures. I wonder if the lack of confidence in his own ability to follow directions might stem from a working memory issue-- he has a hard time hanging on to what he's supposed to do while actually doing it, even if the directions remain the same through the activity. I know he has a terrible time trying to play "Simon Says;" he can follow any individual instruction but cannot remember not to do it if Simon Doesn't Say and pretty regularly gets mad that his 3-yo sister beats him.

I'm also not sure what to do about it. He should not be confident of his ability to follow directions if he really does struggle to follow directions; however, he can't learn to do it without some measure of confidence. Suggestions and thoughts would be immensely appreciated.

Well, anyway, his reading scores are only a few points too high to necessitate remedial instruction, so we put our heads together and decided to get him in it anyway. I have spoken to the Title 1 specialist; she seems to me a very grounded and intelligent woman and I have hope that we will be able to get to the bottom of it between us. I will take over some of the enrichment he will be missing at home because I know he enjoys it and I don't want him to resent missing out (as I remember resenting missing a year and a half of art class while some idiot speech pathologist tried to teach me not to lisp my L's without actually telling me to put my tongue behind my teeth instead of between my lips).

She didn't seem to be real receptive to the idea of letting me in on the enrichment instruction. I think she got the impression I was afraid he'd be left behind and was eager to reassure me that this is not early tracking. That's not the issue at all-- I could care less if he ends up on an academic or technical track, as long as he's happy and it works out with whoever he is. How, exactly, do I let her know this is a personal and emotional and fun thing, not an academic concern, that I want to do the enrichment with him at home??? Maybe tell her the art class story?? Need some communication advice from the NT moms out there.


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zette
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22 Jan 2013, 9:46 am

Does he have an IEP? He needs pragmatic speech therapy to address all the "motormouth"-related issues.



momsparky
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22 Jan 2013, 9:58 am

OK, not an NT Mom and I have to tell you that I laughed in solidarity all the way through your post, and your opening line should be framed and hung up somewhere. I can't shut up, either, and I can't stand parent-teacher conferences. I'm dreading the upcoming Middle School ones, as we have 5 minutes each with 8 teachers. (Fortunately, this situation is so stressful for everyone that I'm about on par with all the NTs.)

I would suggest a couple of things - can your child understand hand signals? They use them a lot in kindergarten anyway, so perhaps a simple hand-up-for-stop and a finger to the lips as a second warning for when NOT to talk, and a finger pointed for WHEN to talk. Go over these signals explicitly with both teacher and child. The idea is to look for nonverbal cues that actually work; it may take some time because two things have to happen: your child has to process the information coming in (stop or start talking) AND then process what he is actually doing, of which he is probably totally unaware. You need to point out that the hand-out-for-stop means he actually IS talking when he shouldn't be.

Sounds like you are also dealing with a sequencing problem, which I usually solve with bulleted lists for DS - but that requires reading ability. If you can sequence things via a cartoon story for now, that might help. Again, visual cues. You could also incorporate the not-talking thing by having a "stop" sign on your child's desk that the teacher can quietly tap or point to.

DS has an accommodation for taking breaks built-in; in some situations they let him sit inside the classroom like you describe, in others there was a desk outside the classroom for him, and now he is allowed to go to the nurse's or psychologist's office for 15 minutes. In the in-classroom breaks, we found that if he was allowed to draw it worked better (you need to find something that's calming and will help refocus: reading, using a fidget, etc.)

Another idea (none of these worked for DS) is to have some kind of physical/sensory activity: standing on a balance board, hanging from monkey bars or somethng similar, taking a moment to sit on one of those giant yoga balls and bounce a bit. Sometimes beanbag chairs or blankets help, too. One that did work for DS in our house: stretching a headband across the front legs of his chair so he had something "bouncy" to fiddle with his heels.

Good luck!



cubedemon6073
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22 Jan 2013, 10:20 am

Quote:
I'm also not sure what to do about it. He should not be confident of his ability to follow directions if he really does struggle to follow directions; however, he can't learn to do it without some measure of confidence.


I would love for others especially you momsparky to chime in as well. BuyerBeware, I do not understand the rationality behind this statement whatsoever. To obtain a background to what I am saying please read my expose on attitude.

http://www.wrongplanet.net/postt206352.html

From my point of view, it seems like the cart is being put before the horse. It is like confidence is being treated as though it is the first and axiomatic step. How does confidence give one the ability to do something? For me, in my driving example that is within the link to my older post, I had to learn a specific step. My attitude and my lack of confidence had nothing to do with my inability to switch lanes.

Once I understood the step, confidence automatically followed for me. I just thought of it in logical terms. In my mind, this told me that I had a premise missing to be able to come to a valid and sound conclusion. My conclusion was that I could not drive in a safe manner and not very well. Once the missing premise was given to me I was able to change the conclusion.

Why does confidence have to precede ability? What is the rational basis for this? I do not follow. To me, the ability has to precede confidence and one has to have sound conclusions coming from true premises.



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22 Jan 2013, 10:49 am

As a general rule, I agree with you. I think the idea that confidence has to precede achievement is 95% silly, a product of a coddling culture. But-- and this is where the other 5% comes from-- there has to be a modicum of confidence (or, if not confidence, then curiosity or something) in order to take the risk of making the attempt in order for learning and achievement to happen.

"I don't know how, but I will try and see what happens," as opposed to, "I don't know how, so I can't. I am not going to try to tie my shoes/read this word/whatever until I am sure I know how to tie my shoes/read this word/whatever."

I have the same problem. If I am not already good at something, I have a very hard time starting. I have found a coping mechanism in the ability to read-- whatever it is, I read and read and read about it before I even think about trying to do it. Then I try it with nobody watching, in case I fail. I do that until I understand my failures enough to ask questions without sounding like an utter idiot. Then I'm OK...

...but golly, you should have seen my bookshelf when I took my first shot at gardening. The shelf looked like the garden should have been great-- and the garden looked like a seven-year-old scattered seeds and then left them to see what would happen. After five years of trying, there are fewer books on the shelf and more veggies in the garden.

Make sense?? Maybe it's not confidence so much as faith I am talking about. People often use those terms as if they are interchangable-- I do too-- but for specificity's sake they really are not.

Let me try a different way-- gee, can ya tell where the hyperverbal comes from??

What I am at a loss for is a way to get him to take the risk of learning the step. It took me 4 years to get a driver's license, not because I couldn't drive, but because I was terrified of making a mistake. I learned each step in sequence-- reading the book 57 times until I memorized, learning to direct the car in a field, learning to control speed on backroads, learning to get along with other cars in a small town, learning to get along with other cars in a bigger town, learning to drive on the Interstated-- but getting me to take each one was murder. I finally took the parallel parking step by buying a trailer where I needed a car and punching myself in the face every time I hit the barrels until I got back in the car and tried again.

Daddy s**t kittens when he came home to a black-eyed daughter every day for 3 weeks. My face looked like a sunset. But to this day I can parallel park a minivan on a curve on the first try. Which is good, because I still get so frustrated that there is no second try.

That's what I want to spare him-- working up the courage to try being so torturous. Well, and ideally, I'd like him to not look like he's been in a boxing match by the time he learns to sound out an unfamiliar word without giving up. Because, you know, people would probably reaaly crap a blue brick over a self-mutilating first-grader. We'd be in sedative territory there.


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22 Jan 2013, 11:23 am

Yup, we have this, too - it takes a leap of faith to try something new, DS really struggles with it.

For instance, riding a bike. Successfully riding a bike is mostly about having faith that it won't fall from under you. There is a little bit of learning not to get in the bike's way (proper pedaling, proper balance) but these things are not usually the stumbling block to bike-riding - what messes kids up is mostly that you have to get the thing going to the proper speed and keep it there, and the bike stays upright on its own as long as you don't deliberately mess with it.

For most kids, their parents' word that they just need to pedal (or sometimes, their parents do it by lying that they are holding up the bike and then showing the kids they are doing it on their own) is enough. For my kid, it took an explanation of the physics of gyroscopes and how that applies to bicycle mechanics. In any case, riding a bike takes a certain amount of faith (in parents, in physics, in examples of bike-riders) to get you on a bike and pedaling it up to speed.

Once you have made that initial leap, you gain confidence in your ability to ride - but you have to first believe that YOU can ride a bike, that it is possible.

The problem is that NTs believe that an awful lot of trepidation on the part of people with AS is just refusal to try...when sometimes the issue is that people with AS may genuinely be missing information, skills, etc. that are preventing them from trying.



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22 Jan 2013, 11:27 am

For the speaking issue, physical signals worked well for my son. A "T" with the teacher's hands when he was running on and needed to wrap it up; a hand on his shoulder when he was basically stimming verbally without being aware of it (she would just quietly walk over to him while otherwise going on with what she had been doing). My main concern there is that your son might be a little young for these steps, but it could be worth a try.

It is, of course, preceded with a discussion of WHY these measures are being taken; appealing to his logic best you can, and showing him what is in it for him to learn those skills.

I do truly believe, btw, that most teachers want to do right by all their students, and it helps that there is a lot of modern education philosophy about teaching to the unique child. Just, well, sometimes their vision for "doing right" isn't compatible with ours, nor does want always translate to ability. When you've got compatible visions and an able teacher, you have much smoother sailing. Hopefully this teacher will prove able, as well.


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Last edited by DW_a_mom on 22 Jan 2013, 11:31 am, edited 1 time in total.

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22 Jan 2013, 11:29 am

My son is a motomouth too. He can talk and talk and talk...he has no idea to look at the other person and gague interest, are they bored, are they engaged, are they interested? He just keeps talking and switchign topics, and he loves to talk!

I agree pragmatics is the way to go, hope they will give him speech for it!


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cubedemon6073
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22 Jan 2013, 11:49 am

BuyerBeware wrote:
As a general rule, I agree with you. I think the idea that confidence has to precede achievement is 95% silly, a product of a coddling culture. But-- and this is where the other 5% comes from-- there has to be a modicum of confidence (or, if not confidence, then curiosity or something) in order to take the risk of making the attempt in order for learning and achievement to happen.

"I don't know how, but I will try and see what happens," as opposed to, "I don't know how, so I can't. I am not going to try to tie my shoes/read this word/whatever until I am sure I know how to tie my shoes/read this word/whatever."

I have the same problem. If I am not already good at something, I have a very hard time starting. I have found a coping mechanism in the ability to read-- whatever it is, I read and read and read about it before I even think about trying to do it. Then I try it with nobody watching, in case I fail. I do that until I understand my failures enough to ask questions without sounding like an utter idiot. Then I'm OK...

...but golly, you should have seen my bookshelf when I took my first shot at gardening. The shelf looked like the garden should have been great-- and the garden looked like a seven-year-old scattered seeds and then left them to see what would happen. After five years of trying, there are fewer books on the shelf and more veggies in the garden.

Make sense?? Maybe it's not confidence so much as faith I am talking about. People often use those terms as if they are interchangable-- I do too-- but for specificity's sake they really are not.

Let me try a different way-- gee, can ya tell where the hyperverbal comes from??

What I am at a loss for is a way to get him to take the risk of learning the step. It took me 4 years to get a driver's license, not because I couldn't drive, but because I was terrified of making a mistake. I learned each step in sequence-- reading the book 57 times until I memorized, learning to direct the car in a field, learning to control speed on backroads, learning to get along with other cars in a small town, learning to get along with other cars in a bigger town, learning to drive on the Interstated-- but getting me to take each one was murder. I finally took the parallel parking step by buying a trailer where I needed a car and punching myself in the face every time I hit the barrels until I got back in the car and tried again.

Daddy sh** kittens when he came home to a black-eyed daughter every day for 3 weeks. My face looked like a sunset. But to this day I can parallel park a minivan on a curve on the first try. Which is good, because I still get so frustrated that there is no second try.

That's what I want to spare him-- working up the courage to try being so torturous. Well, and ideally, I'd like him to not look like he's been in a boxing match by the time he learns to sound out an unfamiliar word without giving up. Because, you know, people would probably reaaly crap a blue brick over a self-mutilating first-grader. We'd be in sedative territory there.


This sometimes works for me but not always. This is one of my coping mechanisms. I use logic and rationality. I honestly do not believe I am capable of obtaining and keeping a job anymore. I have premises that entail my conclusion. I do acknowledge I have doubts. I take my doubt and apply it to my premises. I do believe in obtaining a truth and being as objective as possible. What if my premises are off? With the driving example, I was missing a premise or two. Try checking his premises that he bases his conclusion of "I can't do x" on.

Momsparky has helped me quite a bit especially introducing me to the concept of the social pragmatic use of the English language. Paraphrasing what you have said, sometimes the words are used in an interchangeable manner. Sometimes they don't adhere to the dictionary definition. Society just accepts to use it this way. From her, reading of Gödel's Incompleteness Theorems, talking to another guy, and my father, I have to sometimes accept certain things as axiomatic or upon faith. This means, I must accept it as is without proof or premises that back it up.

My main issue is I overthink things and I know this is a problem for me. I believe that learning to accept things based upon faith and as axiomatic sometimes, may help. With respect to the workplace, I think I may have a major premise that is wrong I think I may have obtained the correct premise. If this new premise is correct I believe I will be a step closer to trying to obtain a job both in ability and morally.

If you think about it math and logic and other belief systems are all based upon presuppositions and axioms which means they have faith that their beliefs are true. It seems like faith may one of the key elements to life.

What do you mean by the coddling culture????



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22 Jan 2013, 12:54 pm

Yup-- learned to ride a bike at 10, by being angry enough to storm out of the house with A) a bicycle and B) the desire to break my own neck. Half an hour later, I was riding the dang thing after 4 years of being unable to pedal with the training wheels and too scared to take them off (yet strangely, getting the training wheels off the bike to make the attempt wasn't a problem).

From riding on the back of someone else's bike to flying down the road, in 30 minutes, 4 to 6 years late. :oops: :roll:

So-- any more thoughts on how to get him past it?? Ideally without turning him back into a thoughtless behavior problem waiting to happen without a single concept of consequences in his head????

I will definitely read up on and look into pragmatic speech therapy. Looking at the definitions of the words "pragmatic," "speech," and "therapy," I might try to find a sitter for the little girls so I can go too!! ! :lol: I could have learned a lot from this as a kid...


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22 Jan 2013, 1:33 pm

BuyerBeware wrote:
Yup-- learned to ride a bike at 10, by being angry enough to storm out of the house with A) a bicycle and B) the desire to break my own neck. Half an hour later, I was riding the dang thing after 4 years of being unable to pedal with the training wheels and too scared to take them off (yet strangely, getting the training wheels off the bike to make the attempt wasn't a problem).

From riding on the back of someone else's bike to flying down the road, in 30 minutes, 4 to 6 years late. :oops: :roll:

So-- any more thoughts on how to get him past it?? Ideally without turning him back into a thoughtless behavior problem waiting to happen without a single concept of consequences in his head????

I will definitely read up on and look into pragmatic speech therapy. Looking at the definitions of the words "pragmatic," "speech," and "therapy," I might try to find a sitter for the little girls so I can go too!! ! :lol: I could have learned a lot from this as a kid...


He will have to learn at his own pace. I would probably take him to physical therapy as well. I wish I could've received these things.



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22 Jan 2013, 2:23 pm

BuyerBeware wrote:
So-- any more thoughts on how to get him past it?? Ideally without turning him back into a thoughtless behavior problem waiting to happen without a single concept of consequences in his head????


We are just now starting to wrap our brains around this and DS is 12. Some of it is purely developmental so I can't be sure what worked & what just happened on its own.

We try to praise effort over results, first of all. Make a big deal about how proud you are for taking (good) chances and putting the work in, especially when results don't go as planned. We make an especially big deal about successes that come after repeated failures (DS learned to ride a bike at 10 after multiple repeated failures from age 7 on. He'd stop trying for 6-month stretches. We refer to that often.) (Oh, BTW - just learned to ride a bike myself at age 38? 40?)

Pragmatics is HUGE. Trust of other people depends on good communication - he can't be expected to trust anyone if he only understands 70% of every interaction (which is what wound up being the issue with also-chatty, also-hyperverbal DS who was talking fluently at 9 mos. We'd never have caught it without professionals pointing us in that direction.) Hard to get him to try stuff he doesn't believe in if he doesn't trust you/teachers, etc.

(Schools can test for it, but I also recommend getting a private screening - our school caught it but since he scored a 52%, didn't explain it or offer services. When we got a private screening, I found that 52% meant that he had 100% of nearly half of the skills, and 0% of the rest - he couldn't even begin to answer the questions. It was heartbreaking. School also came around once we had pro screening. If he doesn't qualify for services, have it re-tested when he is 9 as there is a developmental jump in NT social communication at that age, making a deficit easier to spot.)

Scaffolding - http://www.coedu.usf.edu/main/departmen ... es/si.html (here described in math instruction, but the idea is the same - extra support at first until mastery, then fade support away.

See this article on rigidity, some of what you're dealing with is black-and-white thinking and some is perfectionism: http://special-ism.com/stuck-stubborn-a ... -thinking/

These are just some random ideas, as it sounds like we have similar kids. We didn't get a diagnosis until much later, so don't really have experience with appropriate tools for a kindergartener; hope someone else will chime in.



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22 Jan 2013, 3:40 pm

momsparky wrote:
BuyerBeware wrote:
So-- any more thoughts on how to get him past it?? Ideally without turning him back into a thoughtless behavior problem waiting to happen without a single concept of consequences in his head????


We are just now starting to wrap our brains around this and DS is 12. Some of it is purely developmental so I can't be sure what worked & what just happened on its own.

We try to praise effort over results, first of all. Make a big deal about how proud you are for taking (good) chances and putting the work in, especially when results don't go as planned. We make an especially big deal about successes that come after repeated failures (DS learned to ride a bike at 10 after multiple repeated failures from age 7 on. He'd stop trying for 6-month stretches. We refer to that often.) (Oh, BTW - just learned to ride a bike myself at age 38? 40?)

Pragmatics is HUGE. Trust of other people depends on good communication - he can't be expected to trust anyone if he only understands 70% of every interaction (which is what wound up being the issue with also-chatty, also-hyperverbal DS who was talking fluently at 9 mos. We'd never have caught it without professionals pointing us in that direction.) Hard to get him to try stuff he doesn't believe in if he doesn't trust you/teachers, etc.

(Schools can test for it, but I also recommend getting a private screening - our school caught it but since he scored a 52%, didn't explain it or offer services. When we got a private screening, I found that 52% meant that he had 100% of nearly half of the skills, and 0% of the rest - he couldn't even begin to answer the questions. It was heartbreaking. School also came around once we had pro screening. If he doesn't qualify for services, have it re-tested when he is 9 as there is a developmental jump in NT social communication at that age, making a deficit easier to spot.)

Scaffolding - http://www.coedu.usf.edu/main/departmen ... es/si.html (here described in math instruction, but the idea is the same - extra support at first until mastery, then fade support away.

See this article on rigidity, some of what you're dealing with is black-and-white thinking and some is perfectionism: http://special-ism.com/stuck-stubborn-a ... -thinking/

These are just some random ideas, as it sounds like we have similar kids. We didn't get a diagnosis until much later, so don't really have experience with appropriate tools for a kindergartener; hope someone else will chime in.


You know you have helped me a lot as well. I have a long way to go. Some say a journey starts with a single step am I correct?



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22 Jan 2013, 4:26 pm

Definitely - I think that's what we are focusing on: the first step.



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22 Jan 2013, 6:05 pm

Amen. If those first steps can be better than mine were...

...oh, lordy, I turned out OK really but it could be so much better for him.

It's sort of funny. I have seen myself in him almost from Day 1. Definitely from his first birthday. I have been saying, "He has it, he has it, he has it, he's like me, he's like me, he's like me" for four years now.

Over and over and over I hear, "No he's not." What I cannot seem to get through is that, Yes, he is, and no, that's not exactly a bad thing. It's a thing that needs to be dealt with so he can optimize his way of being before he gets beat down by a world that isn't that way. It's a thing that some people are going to treat as a bad thing (the goddamn deficit/disability model strikes again), and we're going to have to deal with that, too.

Even from the school-- they see the specific deficits, but don't see the classic Asperger's traits to see Asperger's as a reason and deal with it in that manner. Makes me sort of regret teaching him to choose less classic stims and all the other textbook behaviors I taught out of him out of fear of the disability model.

I've had an informal assessment done with my therapist-- she does kids and adults, mostly kids (big surprise). She doesn't see it-- but then she barely sees it in me, either, until I point out over and over and over again that she's seeing the end product of 18 months of Prozac and 34 years of learning to blend in (not to mention what we don't know about typical female symptom patterns).

He definitely has an atypical pattern-- it is very similar to mine. There is not much of the things they worry about-- no classic stims, the closest he comes to aggression (pre-puberty, anyway) is argumentativeness (more thinking of everything as negotiable and being rigid in definitions of what things are than picking fights).

Example: He got in an argument with his seatmate on the bus today. Reason? His seatmate says we live in a trailer. A trailer, to him, is about 14 feet wide and about 60 or 70 feet long and has underpinning and wheels under it. We live in a doublewide, with an apartment module stuck on the front. It's bricked up and the wheels are long gone. :lol:

We didn't even get as far as whether the kid was trying to say something nasty or not. That never crossed his little mind. We spent 45 minutes on the semantic argument. :roll: :lol:


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"Alas, our dried voices when we whisper together are quiet and meaningless, as wind in dry grass, or rats' feet over broken glass in our dry cellar." --TS Eliot, "The Hollow Men"