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Sora
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13 May 2008, 2:04 pm

I personally am thrown off that very often when I say 'AS' people demand excellent language skills from me.

Are there studies about that those with AS must have excellent language skills throughout their lives and that those with classical autism/autistic disorder must never have above average language skills throughout their lives?

I want to ask who with fits and who does not fit the AS stereotype of having at least above average languages (speaking, writing, understanding) skills?

Non-autistic children who say a first word at 12-14 months don't necessarily become excellent speakers either... so what's different with those with Asperger's? Is it a myth that AS = above average language? Is it a 50:50 chance? I can't wrap my head around this...

Is there a lasting difference between those with AS who started to speak earlier than average (below 12 months) and those who started to speak at a normal age?
Or is it important whose development was smooth and who had an odd/troublesome speech development?


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Jeyradan
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13 May 2008, 2:37 pm

I'm all over the board with this one, and my behavior from early childhood to now is quite classic AS/atypical autism, so I'm going to say that it's a spectrum and you can have or not have different aspects, and to different degrees.

I spoke early and well, beginning with perfect grammar (and I maintain that ability to this day, though I often abandon it when speaking to others because it's easier and more comfortable to use my very personalized odd grammar). I also read very early (full fluency before age 4) and read fast and with good comprehension of words (not necessarily of the overall plot, but I understood each word). I also learned new languages easily (German, French). I was your classic "little professor" and was a source of either amusement or weariness to the adults around me (the kids just didn't even bother).

However, there are also a number of ways in which my language was delayed or atypical. I was very echolalic (and still am to a lesser degree). I had difficulty verbalizing my own feelings and abstract concepts, so I either didn't bother or used other words that approximated what I wanted to say (i.e., echolalia). I used language as a tool to communicate needs or to lecture on a subject of special interest only. I spoke or narrated to myself almost constantly (and yes, I still talk to myself as well). I narrated as things occurred. I had (and have) trouble remembering sequential verbal instructions and need things written down, though I do best when I've done a procedure once myself. I got (and get) mixed up when trying to articulate a number of things, or when something I am saying is very important to me, and clutter or make a mess of my language if I don't pause regularly to formulate the next set of words. I use strange grammar to speak when it's okay (i.e., with friends) because it's less work and also because it provides a sort of "shield" whereas speaking normally does not (huh?).

So yeah... kudos to those who have read the whole thing, and... language: no delay in verbal skills certainly does not mean no issues with language.

Edit: I also stop speaking under high stress, and I imagine that I've always done this as well. I just don't speak. It lowers the level of overwhelming if I can take that one stressor away from myself.



Last edited by Jeyradan on 13 May 2008, 3:15 pm, edited 2 times in total.

lelia
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13 May 2008, 2:41 pm

I don't know. I assume there is great variability as we slide around on the spectrum. I did not speak understandibly until 4. I think I may have learned to read before I learned to speak. I suppose I could be considered an excellent speaker in that I speak in front of groups often, and yet I have glitches where I lose nouns. And after I've lost the name of something, it can take days to remember it again.



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13 May 2008, 2:43 pm

I started to speak really early, i was around 8 months. I could sing by the time i was 1 and often sang in enligsh too (im norwegian) I wont say i spoke english when i was so young tho. I have always had good language skills. I was one of the earliest to learn to read as well.



merrymadscientist
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13 May 2008, 2:54 pm

Apparently at 18 months I was reciting entire nursery rhymes without problem. I also learned to read very quickly and painlessly - to the extent that reading can relax me to an extent that nothing else can. I am considered good at writing (technically) and have no problems expressing myself in writing, but in conversational speech I often have problems finding things to say and expressing what I mean to say. I go through periods of almost mutism where I barely speak at all to anyone.

I found french easy to read and write - I learnt the grammer rules very quickly, but even after a couple of years in France I couldnt get the meaning from a spoken phrase - even if I knew well all the words in it (it is a bit better now, but I still miss a lot). I was mute in french to start with - I just couldnt speak it to anyone, even though I would happily recite phrases alone at home. Now I can speak without thinking about it too much, but it has been an effort to get this far, and even now if I feel under pressure I come out with several disconnected words rather than a nice flowing sentence.



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13 May 2008, 3:36 pm

I did well as well. I would probably have learned other languages better and easier if I did so when I was younger. When I was young, it seemed like everyone in my area only spoke English. And I never got any books for other languages. I DID get one like late highschool on German. I DID get turned off though, because some things were just WRONG! How did berlitz ever get so big? Still, it didn't cover that much. If ONLY I knew that my great grandmother spoke german! I would have tried to learn German from HER! :cry:

BTW Sora, The average multilingual person doesn't speak a particular language as well, at least at first, as one that speaks only one language. You don't speak English PERFECTLY. HECK, I DON'T, and doubt anyone does these days. You DO speak it pretty well though.

Also, many scientists claim there are cutoffs to base language development. The latest late estimate is about 12 years of age. That means a person could start speaking quite late, and STILL speak better than someone that started speaking early. It is OBVIOUS that the 1st or 2nd most important part to speaking well is being around people that speak well. The other key is desire or need.



Odin
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13 May 2008, 5:59 pm

I have excellent grammar and a massive vocabulary. Grammar was a breeze in school and I could never understand why everyone else thought it was so hard. I have a bad habit of compulsively correcting people's grammar and syntax ("Uh, you LEND money to someone, not borrow it" for example). Oh, and the use of "their" as a singular pronoun when you don't know the gender of the object of the sentence is somewhat annoying, gender-neutral PC be damned.


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Ryn
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13 May 2008, 6:44 pm

I'm all over the board with this. My normal speech development stopped at one and I was only echolalic until I was four. By the time I was six, however, my teachers were telling my parents about my remarkable vocabulary. I didn't learn to read early, but once I did my fluency and ability shot above those of my classmates quickly.

How I have an excellent vocabulary and an ability to express myself in writing, but my speech skills are lacking in comparison with my classmates. I often don't know how to explain things or how to respond.


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13 May 2008, 10:26 pm

Sora wrote:
excellent language skills...


People with AS have the so-called excellent language skills compared to those with Autistic Disorder (generally speaking), not in relation to "normal" people. People with AS have difficulties in language compared to their "normal" brethren, putting thoughts/ideas/feelings to words that aren't in relation to an interest or facts.

Reciting facts and speaking in an overly formal and pedantic way can give the appearance of excellent verbal ability; it can with talking on a set topic, but bring up something that's unrelated, and the individual will falter.

This is the stereotypical presentation of AS above.

(People with AS can have an advanced verbal ability due to the splintered cognitive pattern, but it's not needed as there's many individuals with AS who have an average verbal ability.)



2ukenkerl
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14 May 2008, 6:24 am

Danielismyname wrote:
Sora wrote:
excellent language skills...


People with AS have the so-called excellent language skills compared to those with Autistic Disorder (generally speaking), not in relation to "normal" people. People with AS have difficulties in language compared to their "normal" brethren, putting thoughts/ideas/feelings to words that aren't in relation to an interest or facts.

Reciting facts and speaking in an overly formal and pedantic way can give the appearance of excellent verbal ability; it can with talking on a set topic, but bring up something that's unrelated, and the individual will falter.

This is the stereotypical presentation of AS above.

(People with AS can have an advanced verbal ability due to the splintered cognitive pattern, but it's not needed as there's many individuals with AS who have an average verbal ability.)


WOW, you really DON'T have a good opinion of any AS people, do you? Your opinion seems to go against everyone elses, even when their opinions include the fact that others have complimented them on the same thing.

As for reciting facts only on interests, etc... You should replace "will falter" with "may falter", and there is a difference between speaking well with a large vocabulary and stating facts without stumbling. If I hear a word I don't know, I won't repeat it outside of that conversation without first validating that it is a real word, and finding out what it means. Apparently, a lot of others here are the same way. And sometimes I stutter or say "um, uh", but that has nothing to do with my vocabulary or grammar. It doesn't even have to do with my knowledge.

Personally, I think that people with AS concentrate so much on language, etc... Because it was probably one of the first interests. I haven't mentioned it as such, and most here haven't, but have you seen the threads about reading DICTIONARIES and using "big" words? Also, so many speak about having started reading so young. EVEN those that supposedly didn't talk until later! And, outside of those posts where people spoke about such things, nearly all posts are practically devoid of such words, so it is obvious that it isn't pretentious. Yet some think pedantic, devoid, and pretentious are pretentious! I guess you can't win. :cry:

BTW Even Sora, the original poster that asked, probably does fine with german, and she does OK with English also. People might be unfair with her, and she is unfair with herself, because she may not understand some words they feel she should. Nobody knows everything. I don't know how many words German is supposed to have, but English supposedly has over 750,000. I doubt anyone here would claim to know even half of that. The Average US college graduate supposedly knows about 2% of that.

I have no idea how much I know, but I found a list of the top 2% of words and it was hard to find a word I didn't know. Going through the average 20,000 word dictionaries for foreign languages, etc... I find very few words I don't know. Still, I DO find words I don't know every now and then. BTW I mean in papers, periodicals, and books, I am not claiming I know more than a small fraction of those 750,000 words. HECK, I didn't even know what plinth meant! I first saw it in a harry potter book! :oops: You can BET I know what it means now, even though it has been almost a year since I looked it up! Obviously, my latin is lacking ALSO! I might only know a thousand or so latin words, but they are ones that are obvious, or related to languages I know or have studied. So I certainly don't know enough to speak latin.

BTW I checked out my 20,000 word english->danish dictionary. Plinth wasn't in it! It went from plimsolls(Ironically the only word on the page I didn't consciously know, but seemed to somehow know anyway. That is a British term, so I can't really be expected to know it.) to plot!



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14 May 2008, 6:30 am

Odin wrote:
I have excellent grammar and a massive vocabulary. Grammar was a breeze in school and I could never understand why everyone else thought it was so hard. I have a bad habit of compulsively correcting people's grammar and syntax ("Uh, you LEND money to someone, not borrow it" for example). Oh, and the use of "their" as a singular pronoun when you don't know the gender of the object of the sentence is somewhat annoying, gender-neutral PC be damned.


You know a lot of people that confuse lend with borrow? Can you imagine a person walking into a bank to LEND money! :lol: That's one for candid camera!(Whatever happened to that show?) MY favorite is infer/imply!



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14 May 2008, 7:58 am

me i have good languande skills what it comes to english :lol:


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Sora
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14 May 2008, 8:37 am

Thank you all very much for answering up to now. It was interesting to read about speech development of you people.


It would make sense that originally, the excellent language skills of those with Asperger's were called that in comparison with the general language skills of those with classical autism...

But then, there really are (many?) people with Asperger's with remarkable speech development and above average language skills compared to non-autistic people too.

That's what I mean. I know there exist quite a lot teenagers with AS that have above average language skills.


Now that leaves me about as clueless as before actually.

I'm also wondering how come those with AS generally have normal or good language and why those with classical usually have below average language or off language development. And why there are those obvious extremes, but despite them no real diving line between the two.


2ukenkerl, well, that people demand better than average language skills from me is annoying me. My language is normal. I have been told in schools that my language skills would need to improve. But seriously, I speak average middle German which I find to be entirely satisfying.

For whatever ridiculous reason my psych report says my language is typical for Asperger's: above average (compared to non-autistic people!) skills, superficial, pedantic and I use big words.

Yeah, four letter words being a highway to pedantry is new to me and however do I use big words when I need to ask my people to stick to colloquial German for me.

Classmates still make fun of me because I don't speak in that utter ridiculous formal way. So what! At least I know how to curse and be rude!

(And, yes, on top of that this bilingualism is sometimes an obstacle too, whenever I confuse both languages.)


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14 May 2008, 9:13 am

Sora wrote:
But then, there really are (many?) people with Asperger's with remarkable speech development and above average language skills compared to non-autistic people too.

I'm also wondering how come those with AS generally have normal or good language and why those with classical usually have below average language or off language development. And why there are those obvious extremes, but despite them no real diving line between the two.


It's like anything that's grouped and clustered, the majority of individuals make the mean. There's "normal" people who have remarkable speech, and above-average language skills; AS is marked by "normal" language. Individuals with Asperger's have normal language development (see: verbal IQ) compared to those with Autism as of Tantun's criteria (DSM-IV-TR/ICD-10), this delay in the development of speech, and other communication difficulties are the biggest line between Autism and Asperger's.

An outcome study that draws this line in adults with similar IQs showed that there's a greater level of impairment in those who have delays in the acquisition of language/communication skills.

Two reasons: Autism and Asperger's are two different disorders, which is backed up by research, so the symptoms differ (there's many different causes of a sore throat for example), or AS and Autism are along the same fluid spectrum with the latter being more severe due to a greater level of impairment across most aspects (social, communication, imagination, repetitive behaviours, etcetera), this is backed up by research too.

O, and here's Tantun on AS and language:
Quote:
Use language freely but fail to make adjustments to fit different social situations or the needs of their listeners



2ukenkerl
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14 May 2008, 9:17 am

Sora wrote:
2ukenkerl, well, that people demand better than average language skills from me is annoying me. My language is normal. I have been told in schools that my language skills would need to improve. But seriously, I speak average middle German which I find to be entirely satisfying.

For whatever ridiculous reason my psych report says my language is typical for Asperger's: above average (compared to non-autistic people!) skills, superficial, pedantic and I use big words.

Yeah, four letter words being a highway to pedantry is new to me and however do I use big words when I need to ask my people to stick to colloquial German for me.

Classmates still make fun of me because I don't speak in that utter ridiculous formal way. So what! At least I know how to curse and be rude!

(And, yes, on top of that this bilingualism is sometimes an obstacle too, whenever I confuse both languages.)


I'm not sure what you mean about "ridiculous formal way", or "middle german". I speak hochdeutsch. By "ridiculous formal way", do you mean that you don't deal with declension or formal you(Sie instead of Du), or what? BTW a lot of Germans apparently take shortcuts with much of that.

As for the bilingualism, they find that a person learns at a given rate regardless of the language. So a person knowing 2 languages might acquire 10,000 words in both in the time a unilingual person might acquire 20,000. Anyway, English is one of the most widely spoken languages, and VERY useful. German at least makes it into the top ten(Wikipedia says only one person speaks German for every 3 that speak english ), and is a popular language for science/research. So the two are good ones to know.



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15 May 2008, 7:13 am

Danielismyname wrote:
An outcome study that draws this line in adults with similar IQs showed that there's a greater level of impairment in those who have delays in the acquisition of language/communication skills.


Thanks. That's a very interesting result of research. I wondered about whether a more severe communication deficit would usually make an overall better outcome harder than in a person with a different and not as severe communication deficit, so it's interesting to see that there are studies backing this idea up.

Danielismyname wrote:
O, and here's Tantun on AS and language:
Quote:
Use language freely but fail to make adjustments to fit different social situations or the needs of their listeners


Yes, I heard that from the professionals. Although the diagnostician didn't recognise (which I find funny), I know I speak the same way to everyone.


2ukenkerl wrote:
I'm not sure what you mean about "ridiculous formal way", or "middle german". I speak hochdeutsch. By "ridiculous formal way", do you mean that you don't deal with declension or formal you(Sie instead of Du), or what? BTW a lot of Germans apparently take shortcuts with much of that.


The formal way of speaking... think of how the language of magazines can differ, that one magazine is maybe for youths and the other one is a popular scientific magazine for professionals - that gives an accurate picture of how my speaking differs from that of my classmates at grammar school.

I do speak perfect Hochdeutsch, but when I said middle German I meant that I just speak like the average type of person, non-academic and from working or middle class. The way I speak is just... average.


I figured many professionals probably only know about today's youths from TV and that they do not know real teenagers in mainstream schools. I take it they think teenagers all speak slang, like those horror kids portrayed on TV. But I bet about 70% of teenagers have at least average language skills.


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