Acceptable Social Behavior, Words, Needs, and Autism

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parallelheidi
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20 May 2016, 9:11 am

Hi All!

So, I'm sure there are a lot of parents that come around trying to self- (other) - diagnose their children. My daughter (9) is currently in the diagnostic process for multiple reasons, but she also deals with something called Complex - PTSD, which may appear much like HFA, but could also be a co-morbid issue. We've now noticed some specific stimming like behavior and that despite getting over three years of therapy is still not able to interact easily and sometimes not at all with other people.

So my question is a bit specific. My daughter is very verbal and highly intelligent. She's in the top 99% for both Math and Reading, and has sounded like the little professor since she was quite small. Her friends jokingly call her 'The Doctor'. And yes, she has very sweet, supportive friends--which I am incredibly grateful for.

Now here's the weird part, DD will often use only sounds or growls in response to questions. Like, "How was art class today?" her response will often be, "Mrrarrrrr." On the phone, she will just make noises, even when it's my partner (her almost step-dad) who she cares about deeply. They just rarr at each other for a minute, because she does want to talk--but not enough to talk. If she does speak, even with me, it's two words at most. The phone is dropped and she runs away, often mid-sentence with the other person.

She very rarely says "Hello" or "Good-bye" without prompting. She never asks "How are you", ever. When someone asks her "How are you" who isn't family, she will give a curt "Goot." This response took about two years to get her to do, before she would stare blankly. After this, she does not respond more. She refuses to start any play with kids she does not know incredibly well, as in her core group of 4 friends. Even kids she has known for years she will not ask to play. She will sometimes play after being asked.

She refuses to "hug" anyone but me, but she will "climb" and "wrestle" those she likes, which often looks like a hug.

Now, alone at home with us, she goes on and on about the most interesting stuff--and sometimes not so interesting (I don't need to know how to craft diamond armor in minecraft...), but even with her teacher, who she adores, she'll often do the sound instead of word thing.

Does anyone else have similar issues? Is this worth bringing up during her assessment? The PTSD makes this sort of thing complicated, but I feel in my parent-bones like the communication issues are different.

Thanks everyone!



ConceptuallyCurious
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21 May 2016, 6:11 am

I wasn't diagnosed with C-PTSD as my psychologist didn't like labels, but probably would have been (I was treated for trauma, dissociation, attachment issues, anxiety, etc).

At the time, it wasn't easy to distinguish between the two and my psychologist decided I didn't have AS. At age 19 it became clear that despite considerable improvement in my mental health, I still had difficulties clustered around the triad of impairments and I was diagnosed a few months later at 20.


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ASDMommyASDKid
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21 May 2016, 6:53 am

parallelheidi wrote:
Hi All!

So, I'm sure there are a lot of parents that come around trying to self- (other) - diagnose their children. My daughter (9) is currently in the diagnostic process for multiple reasons, but she also deals with something called Complex - PTSD, which may appear much like HFA, but could also be a co-morbid issue. We've now noticed some specific stimming like behavior and that despite getting over three years of therapy is still not able to interact easily and sometimes not at all with other people.

So my question is a bit specific. My daughter is very verbal and highly intelligent. She's in the top 99% for both Math and Reading, and has sounded like the little professor since she was quite small. Her friends jokingly call her 'The Doctor'. And yes, she has very sweet, supportive friends--which I am incredibly grateful for.

Now here's the weird part, DD will often use only sounds or growls in response to questions. Like, "How was art class today?" her response will often be, "Mrrarrrrr." On the phone, she will just make noises, even when it's my partner (her almost step-dad) who she cares about deeply. They just rarr at each other for a minute, because she does want to talk--but not enough to talk. If she does speak, even with me, it's two words at most. The phone is dropped and she runs away, often mid-sentence with the other person.

She very rarely says "Hello" or "Good-bye" without prompting. She never asks "How are you", ever. When someone asks her "How are you" who isn't family, she will give a curt "Goot." This response took about two years to get her to do, before she would stare blankly. After this, she does not respond more. She refuses to start any play with kids she does not know incredibly well, as in her core group of 4 friends. Even kids she has known for years she will not ask to play. She will sometimes play after being asked.

She refuses to "hug" anyone but me, but she will "climb" and "wrestle" those she likes, which often looks like a hug.

Now, alone at home with us, she goes on and on about the most interesting stuff--and sometimes not so interesting (I don't need to know how to craft diamond armor in minecraft...), but even with her teacher, who she adores, she'll often do the sound instead of word thing.

Does anyone else have similar issues? Is this worth bringing up during her assessment? The PTSD makes this sort of thing complicated, but I feel in my parent-bones like the communication issues are different.

Thanks everyone!


This behavior sounds perfectly normal for an autistic child, but it does not sound typical for an NT child her age. Answering someone's question is a fundamentally different and harder thing to do for an autistic person (especially if it is an open-ended question) - than it is to do a brain dump of their special interests or follow a script of their own, that they have developed or created from scratch or perhaps copied from one or more sources.



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23 May 2016, 3:28 pm

Geez do I hate "How are you?"
99 percent of the time the person asking does not give an actual poo about the answer.
Good or Goot is more than I bother with - I just respond Hello.



ASDMommyASDKid
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23 May 2016, 4:44 pm

YippySkippy wrote:
Geez do I hate "How are you?"
99 percent of the time the person asking does not give an actual poo about the answer.
Good or Goot is more than I bother with - I just respond Hello.


Yeah I hate that too. It is one of those things that doesn't mean what it purports to mean. It basically means, "Hello," but requires a generic, freestyle response. They don't want to know how you are really.



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23 May 2016, 5:30 pm

Disclaimer: I don't have any diagnosis at all, although I suspect I have ASD/ADD. However, I used to growl, just like your daughter.

parallelheidi wrote:
Now here's the weird part, DD will often use only sounds or growls in response to questions. Like, "How was art class today?" her response will often be, "Mrrarrrrr." On the phone, she will just make noises, even when it's my partner (her almost step-dad) who she cares about deeply. They just rarr at each other for a minute, because she does want to talk--but not enough to talk. If she does speak, even with me, it's two words at most. The phone is dropped and she runs away, often mid-sentence with the other person.


I really had no idea why I was doing this as a child. In retrospect, I think it had a lot to do with being full of emotions with no way to express them, and feeling very insecure. Growling was more eloquent. Having "how are you"-conversations made me feel like a performing monkey. I think it's incredibly sweet of your partner to do that with her. Also, trouble with phone conversations is fairly common among people with ASD.

As a child, I would have felt that the question "How was art class today?" was both intrusive and so general as to be impossible to answer.

So I can't really say whether this is an AS thing or not, all I can say is that there are other kids who do the same thing, but your daughter's reasons may be different.



yelekam
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24 May 2016, 10:10 pm

I have Asperger's, and I have had issues with that whole basic greetings thing. For me personally it was a combination of noticing that I was being greeted, quickly thinking of a response, and overcoming the anxiety and uneasiness to actually respond. I mitigates some of this through working to come up with quick generic responses to put up, and situational practice of greetings. Eventually over the years it became to some degree easier.



parallelheidi
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25 May 2016, 11:54 am

Thank you everyone for your thoughtful responses. I have felt for a long time that because she is so high functioning, if ASD is the case, that it might be really helpful to give her a good script. Neurotypical people put so much emphasis on doing the whole useless/insincere greeting ritual that she either participates or gets marked as rude. They can't tell she's different, so she doesn't get any passes from folks. We have many of the "this seems silly but you have to do it" conversations in regards to social conventions and homework...

I prefer to ask her specific questions about her day. Instead of "How was art?", we ask "What did you make?" or "What medium did you use?"

On a funny note, where I come from (rural, northern Midwest) the "How are you?" is a legitimate question. It's a conversation starter to check if you need help or if there's any news with the family. I always get slightly befuddled when folks in Chicago say it and walk away. The "script" is all wrong here.



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25 May 2016, 1:35 pm

parallelheidi wrote:

On a funny note, where I come from (rural, northern Midwest) the "How are you?" is a legitimate question. It's a conversation starter to check if you need help or if there's any news with the family. I always get slightly befuddled when folks in Chicago say it and walk away. The "script" is all wrong here.


Not to veer too much off-topic, but when you say that where you live, "How are you?" is a real question, you mean amongst people you know right? If a stranger says it, they don't expect you to launch into a discussion about your latest tummy ache or something, right? Or do strangers know not to ask you that if they don't want to get that kind of information?

I guess what I am asking is whether or not there is still required to be some kind of self-editing about what you share. If so, I would presume Aspies where you live might still be prone to be confused.



parallelheidi
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26 May 2016, 1:53 pm

I should have probably qualified that statement.

In my hometown, you pretty much knew everyone, or they knew your parents... People you didn't know would often say "Hello", but "How are you?" was never used as a greeting.

So, a neighbor you know a bit walks by you on the side walk and says, "Good morning." you say it back, but both keep walking. Your dad's cousin bumps into you at the grocery store and says, "Hello relative! How are you? How is your dad?" A conversation ensues that may be any level of uncomfortable, but is a sincere request for more information about your life. I learned this... script? quite well. There was a formula that was followed. That doesn't mean you don't fidget and awkwardly try to find a hole to escape into.

Here in Chicago, people say, "How are you?" without the hello as they pass you in the hall. That's just not done where I'm from. It shocked me, and I still have trouble not following the script I know.



SharkSandwich211
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23 Jun 2016, 9:36 pm

Hi Parallel,

My 6 year old son is the same way. He is 2E. There is no PTSD component, but aside from that difference, they sound quite similar. As for bringing it up in the assessment, I would say yes. In my opinion the more first hand insight that you can provide the Dr. doing the assessment the better. All the best and Kind Regards



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25 Jun 2016, 2:57 am

She almost sounded like me around the same age, except my nickname is 'Crazy' and I don't have a circle of school friends, I got a circle of school bullies instead.


Even until now, I only hug my mom. Everyone else would just annoy me with the gesture (Or, try to annoy them if I opened up to them).


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