Trying to encourage more positivity...

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24 Jan 2015, 6:43 pm

When my son was this age, I worried about this too...after diagnosis and thinking about how he thinks, I realized this: "no" is closed-ended and binary. "Yes," is typically open-ended and can open up multiple choices. For a kid struggling with language processing or pragmatic speech, "no" means the unpleasantness of being misunderstood/misunderstanding is over sooner.

For instance, let's assume you have a kid who is doing something he loves, say playing with Legos: Mom "I love sunny days, don't you love sunny days?" Kid "NO" Mom is then speechless, and possibly walks away hurt (and unless you are telegraphing your hurt with strong visual cues, a kid with AS is unlikely to see anything but you going away.) Kid plays with legos.

Mom "I love sunny days, don't you love sunny days?" Kid "Yes." Mom "Sunny days make me feel like running around outside?" Kid (confused) "Yes?" Mom "Let's go play outside!" Kid is speechless, because he has no idea how Mom got from commenting on something happening elsewhere to actually doing something. Mom scoops up kid, puts away Legos (in a way the kid percieves to be "destroying") and takes kid outside where he absolutely doesn't want to be. Kid has meltdown and learns not to say "yes."

Pileated woodpecker
Pileated woodpecker

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Joined: 12 Jun 2013
Age: 39
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24 Jan 2015, 11:38 pm

ASDMommyASDKid wrote:

I agree with WelcomeToHolland. If this is what is going on, it is a positive thing for him to do this. I misunderstood and thought he was upset. (Of course, being upset can overlap with this sometimes.) Scripting is how they work things out. It may be annoying but i do think that for the kids who do it, it is developmentally necessary. He is going to play around with hyperbolic reactions, and that is where you explain what a proportional reaction would be.

it is easier for them to analyze and replay/script (and if on some form of media other than non DVR TV, actually replay) cartoon reactions than it is to understand what real kids in the real life do, and understand it on the fly. This is a self-scaffolded skill workshop, in a sense.

It can be annoying, especially when they repeat one particular scene over and over, but i think it is a thing you have to get used to. My son is 9 and he still does it. It is just more advanced and it is different material than when he was your son's age.

At age 4, that was when imaginary play really came into being a major part of our day. it was not NT spontaneous stuff; it was this. Eventually you can build on it by asking questions and changing parts of the script. That takes work to build a tolerance for that. If you want to emphasize positively at that point, if he is accepting of it, you can introduce more positive elements.

Edited to add: We don't have multiple kids, so I don't know if there is a way to get him to maybe do it away from his sister. I do understand your distress in how it is impacting her, and expecting her to adjust like an adult can, is not realistic. I don't know if you can make a compromise with him, to limit that sort of play to certain parts of the day.

We did not limit it, nor I think our son would have, as this kind of play was too compelling to him for him to have much if any self-control of. We found that for us (being adults) that the negativity had less of an impact on us once we understood what was going on, although it still can be a downer. You may find that holds true for you, as well, though i understand it is not the solution you were hoping for.

Yes, his imaginary play is really picking up lately. I try to take part in it and engage while he's playing this way sometimes. For a while I would try to steer the scripting and acting in a more positive direction - for example if he was saying "OH NO A MONSTER!" I would act scared with him then laugh and say "ohhhhh it was just the cat hiding under the bed" or something. And I would try to give him different scripts to say in the same hyperbolic way that were positive instead of negative, instead of "Oh no!" , "Oh wow!" or "Oh yea!" etc. And I'd pick up on the same types of positive scripts from the books he was reading and try to repeat them with him. He never seemed to want to play or script with those.

Anyway, I guess it's just one more thing we'll all have to get used to as it doesn't seem to be a passing stage or habit.