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MariaBoy
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30 Jun 2020, 11:44 am

Hello,

I am the mother of 5 year old non verbal asd boy. I have noticed something and I would really appreciate your ideas on what to do. Basically, my son tends to hide his skills and potentials. Maybe, it is a way to make people give up and stop bothering him, I don’t really know. For example, if you ask him to bring a ball, first, he will ignore you. After you insist, he will do his best to show you that he doesn’t understand you. He will bring a teddy bear or any other thing but not a ball. You might think he doesn’t understand, and his teachers think so, too. However, this is a boy who reads, counts and knows a lot more than he shows. Finally, I said to him that I am 100% sure that he understands me and that he should help me like his brothers and he did it. This attitude hinders his progress. What to do?



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30 Jun 2020, 8:39 pm

Strangers on the internet are not telepathic and can't read someone else's mind

The post does not contain enough information to answer the question of "why"



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30 Jun 2020, 8:51 pm

^ Seconded. This really doesn't have enough information to tell why your son is doing this. Do you have other examples of him refusing to do things, and where he eventually showed you he knew what you were asking of him? What exactly do you mean by "skills and potentials?"

Also, are you often giving up and letting him get away with this, or are the teachers at his school doing that? If he genuinely understands what's being asked of him he's not going to do it unless people show him that he's expected to cooperate, just like any other child. Children aren't stupid.

One last question, are you and other people giving him clear directions when you ask him to do things? When I was a child I needed people to clarify for me what they wanted me to do/get. If you told me to get a "ball" and there was a roundly shaped plush toy I would have gotten it, as it technically was in the shape of a ball. If someone then asked me "get the rubber/yellow ball" I would have been more likely to get the right object.



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30 Jun 2020, 10:34 pm

According to the Internet:

Sometimes children on the autism spectrum appear erratic in their ability to follow directions. Some of these students may be performing a rote response pattern which is not based on total comprehension of the message.

If a child can't organize information, he can't effectively respond, and if he can't respond, he can't learn. You've got to reduce the confusion caused by all the different sensory inputs that he is experiencing simultaneous and overwhelming him.

Here are several suggestions:

1. Make sure the child is paying attention.

Close proximity, eye contact

2. Be specific.

“Hands down”, “STOP”

3. Give short, simple directions.

“Walking feet”, “Stay with teacher”

4. Give one direction at a time.

“Stand up” "Hold my hand"

5. State the direction positively

Instead of “no hitting” try “nice hands”

6. Give extra assistance

Repeat directions, show pictures, etc. “line up, time for recess” (Repeat as needed for child's developmental level.)

7. Tell. Don’t ask

Not: “Do you need to go potty?”
But: “Time for potty”
Not: “Are you finished?”
But “All done!”

8. Repeat, practice, and praise–make it a habit or routine

Stand up. Hold my hand, Walk with me. Sit down. "Great Job," etc.

Habits are easier for children of all ages and abilities–including children with autism–to understand and carry out directions.

When children can successfully carryout directions, this builds their self confidence.


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MariaBoy
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30 Jun 2020, 11:30 pm

[quote="MariaBoy"]Hello,

I am the mother of 5 year old non verbal asd boy. I have noticed something and I would really appreciate your ideas on what to do. Basically, my son tends to hide his skills and potentials. Maybe, it is a way to make people give up and stop bothering him, I don’t really know. For example, if you ask him to bring a ball, first, he will ignore you. After you insist, he will do his best to show you that he doesn’t understand you. He will bring a teddy bear or any other thing but not a ball. You might think he doesn’t understand, and his teachers think so, too. However, this is a boy who reads, counts and knows a lot more than he shows. Finally, I said to him that I am 100% sure that he understands me and that he should help me like his brothers and he did it. This attitude hinders his progress. What to do? Edit: What I wanted to say is that his first reaction to any request is ignoring and then refusing to comply, and he will go as far as to show others he doesn’t understand to make them lose hope and leave him. I thank all for the suggestions regarding how to ask and I assure you his receptive language is excellent and he understands everything clearly, because when he is cornered and explained by me that I am expecting him to do what he is asked to do, he will do it instantly. However, I am confused why he pretends not to understand no matter how simple and easy the request is.



cyberdad
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01 Jul 2020, 4:17 am

MariaBoy wrote:
I assure you his receptive language is excellent and he understands everything clearly, because when he is cornered and explained by me that I am expecting him to do what he is asked to do, he will do it instantly. However, I am confused why he pretends not to understand no matter how simple and easy the request is.


Your son is non-verbal but you also say he has "excellent" receptive language. Is it possible that he does not understand what he does not comprehend and that he is not pretending at all. Be cautious and don't rush to conclusions.



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01 Jul 2020, 5:43 am

There is another possibility but I am not going to say that I am right here. Does your son get shutdowns? If he gets full shutdowns, he is also bound to be getting partial shutdowns. Now I am only suggesting this because it just might possibly give an explination. I maybe going right off track here.
Now what happens with me (And Iam not diagnosed yet) is that if I am in a partial shutdown and I feel a full shutdown coming on, I do not want to be asked to do anything. I also tend to get a situation (Usually coming out of a partial shutdown or a shutdown (But you would know if I have a shutdown as I will be on the floor or slouched down on a seat and be in a jelly like state and it looks like I have fainted), but coming out of this experience I will need to keep quiet and I will not want to talk and obviously not want to do anything so even if in a partial shutdown, I have been known to apply avoidance tactics to be left alone (E.g. suddenly grumpy if it works so I am not bothered!)... but what has happened to me on occasions is that I can hear people talk in English I will not make sense of about half the words. Only some words will make sense to me. As I am desperately needing to recover from the experinece and avoid going into another shutdown (Or avoid a shutdown if I am partially shutdown) I may ask for the instructions to be repeated, and if they are and I will likely still not understand most of it... And if the person asks "Do you understand?" I will say "Yes" because I want them to leave me alone so I can recover, and by saying "Yes" they do leave me alone as if I said "No" the process will be repeated right while I am doing all I can to recover).
One thing I have realized is if I am partially shut down no one else notices even though I very much notice!
Now it could also be possible that the same avoidence techniques or the same jumbled up messages may happen if he is close to a meltdown? I am only saying this because I only found out at the age of 47 (Last year) that what I have been having for all these years were called autistic shutdowns, and I eventually found out this through noticing that autistic meltdowns seemed to have the same stress and sensory triggers as I was experiencing which caused the shutdowns. I did not know these were called shutdowns and I had never been able to describe them in ways to make doctors or even my own family understand, as when I was getting partial shutdowns the last thing I want to do is talk about them, as I am trying to avoid going any deeper and getting a full shutdown.... And if I do get a full shutdown, I can't talk anyway!
It often does not feel fair as here is am example. I can start getting a partial shutdown if another family member announces they want help lifting something heavy, and their plans have come completely out of the blue so I was not expecting them. (My youngest brother seems to do this a lot where he suddenly decides to take on a strenous bit of work). Now the suddenness of being asked when I had already planned the day out in my mind (And often (Especially when stressed) I would have planned this the night before to prepare myself for the next day) will push me into a partial, and then a full shutdown, as at first I will start partly shutting down. What is not fair is then when I am trying to avoid a shutdown I hear comments like "He always does this to get out of work" when this is not at all the case. Now if I try to answer back or even try to think about answering back I will go straight into a complete shutdown which could have been avoided if the comment was not made and I was given about 20 minutes to recover. Once recovered and I had something to eat and drink I will be find and able to help... But I do find that after the first shutdown I have to guard myself from having another as I am more suseptable to getting them after I have had the first, which is annoying as I need to be on a "Go slow" to avoid repeating the experience.
Also shutdowns are exhausting and rob my energy, hence why I tend to need a sugary drink or something to eat to give me a boost to help me recover.

If your son is using avoidence techniques if he is experiencing what I expreience, then it might explain why he decides to use his last bits of energy passing you something you didn't want so he wont be asked again so he can get a bit of alone time to recover. I am not saying that this is the case here, but it could be a possibility.

Also, if he is stressed it is possible he may get a situation where he would normally be able to understand every word you say, but if he is stressed at the time, certai words just don't compute... So he may understand "Fetch the" but the "Ball" part of the sentence will e heard but it may not be processed.
The brain is a wierd thing. When I was getting this happen to me I heard every word but could only make sense of a few of them. I knew very well they were words I recognized, but somehow it was as if the other person was speaking in an entirely different language that somehow sounded familiar but I just did not understand what they were saying. Only a few words like "The", and then only vaguely!
BUT the strange thing is, I would remember the words said word for word but they would still make no sense until between about from a few months later to maybe a couple of years later, the exact words said would somehow slip into my long term memory, and then somehow I could bring those words back into my processing part of my mind and they would make perfect sense and be perfectly clear as if someone would speak to me normally. It is very wierd how this all happens... But unfortunately I have had a workmate or two in trouble due to this when instructions were given, and I had not uderstood them but had said "Yes" but I then had gone and done what he had said not to do... And I got him into trouble. All I could do was apologize whe I knew, and this was many months after I last worked there.
(I had upset another workmate and a friend back in 2007 when I worked on the railways. I don't know what he looks like now as I have prosopragnosia so I loose people I don't see, but he was really annoyed with me and I did not really know what I had done to upset him. I knew something had happened but only bits of it. I know now but it is too late. I had been going through my first burnout at the time and my mind was jumping.

Anyway. I thought I would share some possibilities. They may have nothing to do with it whatsoever! Haha. He could be using a rebellious sense of humour! As a child Iwas very quiet in school or when visiting people etc but I was not quite at home, unless we had a strange visitor I did not know. But I was highly intelligent for my age. I remember having adults bend down to me when I was just a few years old and talking to me in high squeeky voices and thinking to myself "Are they thick?"
I am not a quick thinker but I am a deep thinker so I could be processing through a single question for several years before I am satisfied with an answer... While a quick thinker would blurt out a surface answer straight away and his answer will be based on what someone else has told him. My answer will be based on cross referencing many thoughts between what other people have said and matching things up to my own observations, and throwing out some of what was said if it does not compute!
Just for reference. My first words were spoken very clearly when I was only a few months old, but then I went quiet and did not speak until normal speaking age... But I rarely ever spoke in school unless I had to. Also my language skills are... Well. I am no good at other languages and in Englsh I can only use simpler English words, as my inner mind is very visual and works best in pictures and visual form. My Grandad and his Dad were both designers who were on my Mums side of the family, and my Dad was an excellent carpenter but rarely did he ever write things down. It was all head work when he designed things he was going to make. I do the same to, as I work on designs in my mind and only bother with paper if after I test the design which could be after about a year or two of thought, I will only then use paper to record the design so I can move on. And I rarely measure. Is all done on sizing things to fit the situation. Only measure if I really have to! It is un-neccessary.


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01 Jul 2020, 6:59 am

Hi Maria - I agree with what MG has said, in that this might well be a processing issue. Intelligence has no bearing on receptive language as when we're overwhelmed sensory-wise, we cannot process whole instructions. Above all, best to remain calm and consistent in responding to your son, and allow him time to process, understanding he may not have the ability to do as you request immediately.

Alternatively, in the case of avoidance, there can be either no acknowledgement of the request, and/or outward behavioural signs that tell you he does not want to do as you've asked. In that case, allow him time to calm, to take in what you've requested. Never raise your voice, as this will only serve to raise his anxiety levels. An autistic child, working at the level your son is, does best with predictable, calm instruction. He won't be behaving in an avoidant manner to annoy or be disobedient. He is having to cope in a world that is unpredictable and chaotic to him. He is having to work twice as hard as a neurotypical child just to cope from one day to the next. How you present to him, is all important. If you can continue to present and maintain calm, stable and predictability in your interactions with him, he will cope better in the home setting.

*His ability to process words can also be affected by how much sleep he's managed(many of us have major issues with sleep as we don't tend to produce the same levels of melatonin as a neurotypical child/adult. Sleep can have a huge bearing on our ability to function well daily.



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01 Jul 2020, 7:34 am

I agree with MG and Juliette.

Please remember that complying with requests from NTs requires a HUGE internal effort on the part of the autistic child. He already has to exert that effort at school, having to do it at home too, may well exceed his ability to comply with NT rules of behavior. An NT may not be able to recognize his internal struggle.

It would probably be a good idea to give him time - maybe a lot of it - to regain his capabilities.

You might want to read the Spoon metaphor, which is somewhere in these threads. I'm not that great at explaining things, so I hope someone else can either explain or provide a link to the thread.


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01 Jul 2020, 7:46 am

blazingstar wrote:
I agree with MG and Juliette.

Please remember that complying with requests from NTs requires a HUGE internal effort on the part of the autistic child. He already has to exert that effort at school, having to do it at home too, may well exceed his ability to comply with NT rules of behavior. An NT may not be able to recognize his internal struggle.

It would probably be a good idea to give him time - maybe a lot of it - to regain his capabilities.

You might want to read the Spoon metaphor, which is somewhere in these threads. I'm not that great at explaining things, so I hope someone else can either explain or provide a link to the thread.

1+
Amity wrote:
Spoon theory
Its original form is aimed at people with chronic ailments eg Chrons disease.
Image
For folk on the spectrum the spoons can relate to the energy reserves for social, sensory, communication and repetitive needs/abilities.

Magz introduced me to:
Quote:
The energy accounting method

The energy accounting method works by sitting down with the person with autism and creating a long list of things that sap energy from them (withdrawals) and replenish energy in them (deposits). A numerical value is then added to each withdrawal or deposit to give it a weighting.

The idea is that when a withdrawal is made, or numerous withdrawals are made, deposits have to be made too in order to prevent the account running into the negatives, which can trigger a meltdown.

Image


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01 Jul 2020, 8:49 am

Finally, I said to him that I am 100% sure that he understands me and that he should help me like his brothers and he did it.

This seems to reinforce your suspicion that he does understand. If a child has experiences with teachers or others that show him they can be manipulated to leave him alone, he may try to make use of those techniques with you. If he learns that you are wise to this, he may move on to other tactics.



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01 Jul 2020, 11:32 am

^ If he wants to be alone, maybe let him be alone. Autistic children require time to recharge.


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MariaBoy
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01 Jul 2020, 2:25 pm

Thank you all for your Insightful replies. They were eye opening for me and helped me understand my son better.



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01 Jul 2020, 2:29 pm

MariaBoy wrote:
Thank you all for your Insightful replies. They were eye opening for me and helped me understand my son better.


You are most welcome. I hope something one or more of us said relates to the situation. It is difficult to know for sure as it is guesswork, but I hope you can get to the bottom of what it is that is causing it. Thanks.


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01 Jul 2020, 9:52 pm

Thanks everyone, the shutdown hypothesis makes sense.



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01 Jul 2020, 10:41 pm

Why are you asking him to fetch a ball when you could quite easily go fetch it yourself?

If I'd had enough by that point in the day it would be a "no" from me as well.