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Countess
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21 Oct 2010, 12:52 pm

I feel like I need to keep a little sign with me that says "I want..."

My son was a delayed speaker. He now talks non-stop which is wonderful. He can go on and on for hours describing things he's looking at or playing with. He doesn't ask for things with any more than one word.

For example, today he handed me a container and said "Open". This isn't a great example because open tells me clearly what he wanted me to do, but this is what is typical for him. When my husband comes home, he will often be greeted with "Outside!"

We've been working on essentially forcing him to form complete sentences where questions are involved. Did anyone else deal with this and is there a better way to help him understand why it is necessary to use more than one word?



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21 Oct 2010, 1:27 pm

Your question reverberated with me since I am similarly affected in this way - I just cannot seem to ask; the simplest request is not conveyed and my need can become urgent. I am a PhD student currently (near my PhD).....but, still, I can be in pain and not get that message to another!! ! Miserably vexing. I become so frustrated inside I could scream.

For instance, just today our lab was hot as the sun was shining through the windows. I needed the window open (!) plus the sunshine made it hard for me to see and I was mouting neural/spinal tissue. I cannot reach the venetian blind and the window is stuck; only our (tall) male can help out in this matter. Like a mute toddler, I reached at the window - not verbalizing my request. The man said, "Do you need that window open? Is that what you're trying to ask?" Yes!

As to why? < shrug shoulders > Although I might have an idea. Lack of Theory of Mind thingy. I can actually forget that another does not just "know" what I am thinking. I mean, if I am thirsty (for example), then why does other know that? Now, at explaing a phenomena or related - OK. In fact, I am quite good at teaching. Among the worst is when another says to me, when I am verbally struggling, is "just say it!" Then I am flustered and almost cannot speak, becoming really nervous (and sometimes tearful).


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Countess
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21 Oct 2010, 1:45 pm

LabPet wrote:
Your question reverberated with me since I am similarly affected in this way - I just cannot seem to ask; the simplest request is not conveyed and my need can become urgent. I am a PhD student currently (near my PhD).....but, still, I can be in pain and not get that message to another!! ! Miserably vexing. I become so frustrated inside I could scream.

For instance, just today our lab was hot as the sun was shining through the windows. I needed the window open (!) plus the sunshine made it hard for me to see and I was mouting neural/spinal tissue. I cannot reach the venetian blind and the window is stuck; only our (tall) male can help out in this matter. Like a mute toddler, I reached at the window - not verbalizing my request. The man said, "Do you need that window open? Is that what you're trying to ask?" Yes!

As to why? < shrug shoulders > Although I might have an idea. Lack of Theory of Mind thingy. I can actually forget that another does not just "know" what I am thinking. I mean, if I am thirsty (for example), then why does other know that? Now, at explaing a phenomena or related - OK. In fact, I am quite good at teaching. Among the worst is when another says to me, when I am verbally struggling, is "just say it!" Then I am flustered and almost cannot speak, becoming really nervous (and sometimes tearful).


Thank you for sharing this. I think I can understand it a little better now. I have to think on how I can help him with it more.

I had a lot of trouble with humor as a younger person. The main problem was that most of my jokes seemed to come out of left field because I wasn't sharing all of the internal dialog, so I can relate to what you're saying in that way. I am OK about asking for things so I can't relate to what he's doing very well. My issue would stem from people asking me to justify my requests more than actually expressing a need.

I hate when people get annoyed with me for not answering them or saying things quickly enough (I can totally relate to you there). I usually just ask them to give me a minute because I'm having trouble figuring out how to express myself correctly. Sometimes saying "Let me think about this for a minute" will get people to calm down long enough or help them realize I'm not being difficult.



2berrryblondeboys
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21 Oct 2010, 1:48 pm

I cannot tell you have nice it is to have people who are on the spectrum to be able to explain WHY.

My son is five and very verbal. Like the OP, my son can describe the sky, the car, about a book a tv show. Ask him how his day was? Ask him how he's feeling? We are LUCKY to get a one word answer. Now, he has learned to say, "Mom can I have some more water please?" THose things he can verbalize, but ANYTHING about emotions - no way. Actually, still in these circumstances, he's likely to give a nonsense answer. Like I can ask, "Henry what would you feel like doing today,?" His reply, "Oh, Mom, just, you know." or "Oh, Mom." and a smile.

I love this kid to pieces, but he won't let me in because he doesn't know how - thank goodness he's always had good smile, eye contact and humor. At least we can 'sense' when he's happy or sad.



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21 Oct 2010, 2:43 pm

Countess wrote:
I feel like I need to keep a little sign with me that says "I want..."

My son was a delayed speaker. He now talks non-stop which is wonderful. He can go on and on for hours describing things he's looking at or playing with. He doesn't ask for things with any more than one word.

For example, today he handed me a container and said "Open". This isn't a great example because open tells me clearly what he wanted me to do, but this is what is typical for him. When my husband comes home, he will often be greeted with "Outside!"

We've been working on essentially forcing him to form complete sentences where questions are involved. Did anyone else deal with this and is there a better way to help him understand why it is necessary to use more than one word?


I'd probably ask him "outside what? Is there something outside? Is it raining outside? Do you want to go outside?" And point at him when I say "you".

And see if he chooses one.

No experience here, just guessing.



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21 Oct 2010, 2:57 pm

Yes, and that makes sense (2berryblondeboys). Apparently Aspies (& all ASD individuals) significantly lack declarative speech. Seemingly I spend (? most) of my speaking time merely explaining but, quite notably, I'll not express otherwise. I know I have alexythemia (sp?) which is the inability to say/express emotions. Further, I know I do not have the full range of emotions....not even close. But I do feel and that's separate. Indeed, I am very sensitive.

By a physical analogy, like neuropathic pain vs. acute pain where the latter is easily pointed out to another; "It hurts right here! And it hurts because I accidentally hit it with a hammer." But with neuropathic pain (by analogy, when my feelings are hurt but I have no way to express it) it's undefineable and therefore not explainable. It just is. In a sense, neuropathic pain can be worse. I think this is why ASD individuals can be hurt so badly and also be seemingly ignored.

Nodding head to 2berryblondeboys son's response 'you just know.' That's about my best approximation too. :) An idea though, for both of you! Could you instead ask your son to write or draw (or related) what's wrong? Give him paper/marker or a whiteboard, for instance. Just so much easier for us to not speak it. Worse when what's interpreted by another is wrong.....

Last evening my male friend (via long distance) asked of something peculiar, which reminded me of my above suggestion. When I was little my father had become grievously ill (died 4 yrs later). Quite certain my paternal grandfather was an Aspie! When my grandfather was told of his son's (my father) drastic illness and major surgery, he spoke nothing and apparently was "stone-faced," no tears or sympathy at all. I'm told some in my family were offended that he seemingly did not care. Not true - the contrary, in fact. Immediately afterward my father received a "touching" deeply sincere and heartfelt letter from his father who expressed profound sorrow. He could not say it. So, it's not true that Aspie don't care or don't feel - we do. Same thing.


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21 Oct 2010, 3:00 pm

LabPet wrote:
Your question reverberated with me since I am similarly affected in this way - I just cannot seem to ask; the simplest request is not conveyed and my need can become urgent. I am a PhD student currently (near my PhD).....but, still, I can be in pain and not get that message to another!! ! Miserably vexing. I become so frustrated inside I could scream.

For instance, just today our lab was hot as the sun was shining through the windows. I needed the window open (!) plus the sunshine made it hard for me to see and I was mouting neural/spinal tissue. I cannot reach the venetian blind and the window is stuck; only our (tall) male can help out in this matter. Like a mute toddler, I reached at the window - not verbalizing my request. The man said, "Do you need that window open? Is that what you're trying to ask?" Yes!

As to why? < shrug shoulders > Although I might have an idea. Lack of Theory of Mind thingy. I can actually forget that another does not just "know" what I am thinking. I mean, if I am thirsty (for example), then why does other know that? Now, at explaing a phenomena or related - OK. In fact, I am quite good at teaching. Among the worst is when another says to me, when I am verbally struggling, is "just say it!" Then I am flustered and almost cannot speak, becoming really nervous (and sometimes tearful).


OMG! LabPet...I think I love you for this! This happens to me all the time. I ordered a coffee with room for milk, and brought my own rice 'milk' because milk hurts my stomach. The lady kept trying to pour milk in my coffee, and all I could do was wave my hand and shake my head, finally I managed "NO!" She still didn't understand and as a consequence kept trying to pour the milk in. I know she needs me to tell her, 'I asked for room for milk, not milk. I have my own milk to put in it right here. See?" I knew this, but I couldn't form the words...couldn't figure out which came first, because I was so desperate for her to understand me.

I think when things get emotional or are attached to strong desires/wants, I tend to lose the ability to verbalize. If I can manage one word then I'm lucky. If I try for a sentence it feels like it would come out all backwards and without syntax, and maybe even the wrong words would come out. It makes me want to scream, it almost feels like the words are bricks stuck in my throat and the thoughts are vapor floating through my mind. It can actually be painful for force the words past that lump in my throat and the words like "coffee" or "milk" or "NO" can simply disappear when I reach for them, like mist.


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21 Oct 2010, 3:04 pm

2berrryblondeboys wrote:
I love this kid to pieces, but he won't let me in because he doesn't know how - thank goodness he's always had good smile, eye contact and humor. At least we can 'sense' when he's happy or sad.


This is why I need lots of hugs and touching from people I trust. I know some are touch averse, and I'm finding I am averse to touch from people I don't trust or certain types of touch. Still, patting a shoulder or an arm or giving a big bear hug helps me tell others of the affection I have for them when I can't just say, "hey, I like you" or "that made me happy just now." I find I also need that from others, or I'm constantly wondering if they are okay with me or angry...since most of the world seems to react that way to me.


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21 Oct 2010, 3:18 pm

http://www.autismhangout.com/news-repor ... sp?id2=144

< Refer to above link >

By happenstance, I just now watched/listened to Autism Hangout (Craig Evans if a favourite of mine) and he is personally interviewing Dr. Tony Attwood. Very well done interview, btw! Anyway, many of the questions you all have asked here are addressed in this particular webinar segment.


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21 Oct 2010, 3:46 pm

I say single-words too or just gestures and my parents will just cycle through asking "A?" nod yes/nod no, "B?" nod yes/no.

I didn't realize I did this until I examined how I talked with people. I just can't initiate conversations, so the words don't come out or I don't know how to phrase it. Perhaps practice coined phrases with him? When you figure out what he wants phrase the question and ask him to repeat it.

If someone did this with me though I would probably get very, very annoyed.



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21 Oct 2010, 3:47 pm

2berrryblondeboys wrote:
I cannot tell you have nice it is to have people who are on the spectrum to be able to explain WHY.

My son is five and very verbal. Like the OP, my son can describe the sky, the car, about a book a tv show. Ask him how his day was? Ask him how he's feeling? We are LUCKY to get a one word answer. Now, he has learned to say, "Mom can I have some more water please?" THose things he can verbalize, but ANYTHING about emotions - no way. Actually, still in these circumstances, he's likely to give a nonsense answer. Like I can ask, "Henry what would you feel like doing today,?" His reply, "Oh, Mom, just, you know." or "Oh, Mom." and a smile.

I love this kid to pieces, but he won't let me in because he doesn't know how - thank goodness he's always had good smile, eye contact and humor. At least we can 'sense' when he's happy or sad.



One of the hardest things about feeling questions is that sometimes I don't really feel any which way. I guess you could describe it as pensive? Other times I am just spacey. Or disconnected. Or contented. These are words that younger people wouldn't quite know how to use more than likely because it's a more complex emotional descriptor. Most of us learn about happy, sad, angry, surprised, scared. I know there are a few more, but those are the basics. Take emotion out of it, and you could feel hungry or tired. You could feel thirsty. These are easier because there's a very definitive physical cue for most people (some people even have trouble pinning these down).

Emotions are a little different. Sometimes they can be very frightening. When I was younger and used to get upset or angry I would experience a very intense panic response - fight or flight like I suppose. I could hear my hear pounding, I would see more details and I would feel intensely warm. It was an incredibly uncomfortable thing and impossible for me to explain when it was happening. I also was keenly aware that I was very different from my family and peers, so when I did explain what did happen I would get very strange looks - it was easier to respond like your son. I am not at all implying that's what's happening with him either - he's too young. I just don't think he's physically aware of what his emotions feel like yet and how to describe ones that don't really have a physical feeling.

Practicing yoga actually helped me dramatically with expressing my feelings. Hokey, I know but it did work for me.

I also notice with my son that he's very immature developmentally. I was too - more of the understanding of various feelings will come with age more than likely. And if you sense that he's happy or sad, tell him that! Say things like "you look like you feel happy". It may sound weird, but it may help him make the connection with repetition and time.

He did it! Hahahaha! He just marched in here and announced "Mommy, I want goldfish crackers". Yay!



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21 Oct 2010, 3:51 pm

And my son just said he wanted ginger snaps, so I gotta do that, but thanks. I do echo back feelings and we talk about that. He 'gets' what happy and sad and mad and surprised are and can make those faces. Just the other day, we asked, "what makes people mad or sad or happy" and he was able to simply, in a detached way, respond.

And learning what alexithymia is, is very helpful. I'm attaching the wiki page for it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexithymia

SO much more to learn!

And yay for your son's verbal accomplishment!



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21 Oct 2010, 4:25 pm

buryuntime wrote:
I say single-words too or just gestures and my parents will just cycle through asking "A?" nod yes/nod no, "B?" nod yes/no.

I didn't realize I did this until I examined how I talked with people. I just can't initiate conversations, so the words don't come out or I don't know how to phrase it. Perhaps practice coined phrases with him? When you figure out what he wants phrase the question and ask him to repeat it.

If someone did this with me though I would probably get very, very annoyed.


We're doing the coined phases, exactly. That works for him because of how he learns. Thank you!



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21 Oct 2010, 5:25 pm

pandorazmtbox wrote:

OMG! LabPet...I think I love you for this! This happens to me all the time. I ordered a coffee with room for milk, and brought my own rice 'milk' because milk hurts my stomach. The lady kept trying to pour milk in my coffee, and all I could do was wave my hand and shake my head, finally I managed "NO!" She still didn't understand and as a consequence kept trying to pour the milk in. I know she needs me to tell her, 'I asked for room for milk, not milk. I have my own milk to put in it right here. See?" I knew this, but I couldn't form the words...couldn't figure out which came first, because I was so desperate for her to understand me.

I think when things get emotional or are attached to strong desires/wants, I tend to lose the ability to verbalize. If I can manage one word then I'm lucky. If I try for a sentence it feels like it would come out all backwards and without syntax, and maybe even the wrong words would come out. It makes me want to scream, it almost feels like the words are bricks stuck in my throat and the thoughts are vapor floating through my mind. It can actually be painful for force the words past that lump in my throat and the words like "coffee" or "milk" or "NO" can simply disappear when I reach for them, like mist.


i'm like that too. if a situation requires me to express what i want quickly, all i can do is point and scream, either "no!"or "That!"or "quick!!"( which makes no sense to anyone........) frustrating!! as to 2berryblondeboys' issue, i never get anything from my son about his day except "nothing "and "i don't know"...i don't think it's offensive! just means he doesn't feel like talking about school because it brings back the stress of it and he's trying to unwind...i personally re-live a story as i tell it. feeling all the emotions again....maybe he's just too tired about his school day already to have to go through it all again. that's what i think when my son answers like that ( we're both on the spectrum).
what to do to help your son learn how to express what he wants better? well...i'm not so sure. maybe not pushing him too hard? and making full sentences yourself as much as you can. it will get better with time anyway!



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21 Oct 2010, 5:51 pm

My son used to do that too, and we just kept asking more questions like : open what? more what? etc..... I think in my son's case, he just assumed that we knew what he was thinking ( and sometimes we did) But we just kind of kept making him keep expanding on what he was saying, and he finally started getting the idea.



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21 Oct 2010, 6:09 pm

Countess wrote:
I feel like I need to keep a little sign with me that says "I want..."

My son was a delayed speaker. He now talks non-stop which is wonderful. He can go on and on for hours describing things he's looking at or playing with. He doesn't ask for things with any more than one word.

For example, today he handed me a container and said "Open". This isn't a great example because open tells me clearly what he wanted me to do, but this is what is typical for him. When my husband comes home, he will often be greeted with "Outside!"

We've been working on essentially forcing him to form complete sentences where questions are involved. Did anyone else deal with this and is there a better way to help him understand why it is necessary to use more than one word?


I have to LOL here, because my 10yo extremely high-functioning (to the point that most laymen think we are crazy for getting him supports) does this, too, but has learned to disguise it by doing it in a baby voice...or at least he'll do the baby voice or gesture the second time (the first is usually a demand, e.g. "Cup!" "Door!" "Thirsty!" These declarations must appear very odd and rude to the outside world.

I realized that we both do this, too - and though DH and I consider it a form of affection, I am realizing that for all three of us, it's something more as well...it is very tiring to have to use all those words, and it's intimate in a whole other way that DH can allow me to take the shortcut of just reaching out for the water cup and curling my fingers. It takes effort to find words sometimes.

I was laughing, too, at the last couple of posts - a couple of times there was real danger when riding in the car and I was only able to scream "CAR!" or "NO!" or "LOOK!" Keep in mind that both DH and I have had careers in theatre and voice work and DS is showing signs of following in our footsteps.

I wish I had help for you...though I was interested in something I just read in Thorn In My Pocket where Eustacia Cutler talks about a therapy where kids create requests using pictures with velcro: (I want a cup of juice...child goes and gets the picture of the cup and velcros it to the board with his own name on it. Apparently the key is the verbal teacher response "Oh, you want a cup of juice! Is that right, you want a cup of juice?"