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ivetastedflight
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08 Apr 2008, 3:25 pm

My son just took the ADOS test today, and he scored within the "normal" range for communication. As far as social interaction, he scored in the "autistic" range. The combined final score of the ADOS puts him in the "autistic spectrum" range.

I expected communication and being social to go hand-in-hand. If he's communicating, isn't he communicating with someone? And if so, isn't that being social? Or is it that he's communicating, but not interacting (like giving appropriate gestures and facial expressions and commenting, but to no one in particular)?

Does this make sense? Discuss?



LostInSpace
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08 Apr 2008, 3:28 pm

Maybe it means that his language skills are developed enough that he can express himself/his needs etc., but that his pragmatic skills are impaired. So for instance, maybe he can talk your ear off about his special interest, but he doesn't know how to greet people, use polite phrases, etc.



Liverbird
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08 Apr 2008, 3:48 pm

For purposes of the testing and so that you have a layman's translation:

Communication is actually only the ability to speak, or communicate one's needs in some manner. There are also different categories of language. There is receptive language which refers to difficulties in the ability to attend to, process, comprehend, retain, or integrate spoken language. There is also expressive language which is difficulty with verbal expression or putting words together to formulate thoughts.

Socialisation refers to the ability to interact with other people. Small children develop these skills in steps. Depending on where they seem to be among those steps is usually how they decide how severely impaired they are in social skills. For instance, if they are 3 and they only play next to other children but not actually with them, that's a problem.

Pragmatic skills is the ability to appropriately communicate in social situations. Here is a good website that explains pragmatic skills.

http://www.iidc.indiana.edu/irca/commun ... matic.html

I hope all this helps you. I know it seems like a really fine line and is really difficult to understand if you don't think like your son does. My son and I always talk about our thinking patterns like this: we think in pictures rather than words. Think of the process of brainstorming. Most people put one word or idea in the middle of a page and then make little arms with all the words or ideas off of that. You then build pictures based on those words. People on the spectrum do not need the middle step. We think in photos and movies and I think that NTs must think more like movie scripts. Now, when you are little, it's very difficult to do the process backwards. Where normal kids have the scripts in their heads and then make the movies, kids on the spectrum have to try to write the script from the movie. This is compounded by the fact that it's very difficult to learn all the little nuances of languages in general. Most people on the spectrum think very literally and it takes years to learn all the little double meanings of words.

I've had to teach my son to draw little pictures to brainstorm rather than words. It's too difficult to dig up the words in the short amount of time usually allowed for brainstorming by teachers. You may have to teach your son to make similar modifications for himself.


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beef_bourito
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08 Apr 2008, 4:06 pm

very good explanation.

I just got back from the psychologist with two copies of the "Asperger Syndrome Diagnostic Scale" for my parents.

a few things in the "Language Subscale" would be:
Speaks in a bookish manner and/or overly uses correct grammar
Talks Excessively about favorite topics that hold limited interest for others
Does not understand jokes (e.g., sarcasm)
Interprets conversations literally
etc

the "Social Subscale" has stuff like:
Uses few gestures
Avoids or limits eye contact
Has difficulty relating to others that cannot be explained by shyness, attention, or lack of experience
shows little or no interest in other children
has few or no friends in spite of a desire to have them

so the language subscale would be the ability to communicate, whereas the social subscale would be the ability to interact with others, the ability to make friends, the ability to understand non-verbal cues, etc.



ivetastedflight
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08 Apr 2008, 4:11 pm

LostInSpace:

Thank you for your response. It's about the best way to sum up what I saw today.

Liverbird:

Thank you for breaking that down for me and for the website. It does help a great deal. I think when I have the actual written report in hand, it'll give me a little more detail, which I am sure will be helpful, too. Oh, and he's 6, and he plays along side of most other kids, but not with (unless it's his brother or sister). I see what you're saying here.

And it's funny that you bring up the brainstorming thing - I have NEVER been able to use that approach! It always drove me nuts, and I could never organize things like that. I think in pictures, too, and even if my son and I do think differently, I "get" him better than anyone else. I fully count on teaching him in anyway I can to help him find out what works best for him.

beef_bourito:

Uses few gestures (Yes.)
Avoids or limits eye contact (Yes.)
Has difficulty relating to others that cannot be explained by shyness, attention, or lack of experience (Yes.)
shows little or no interest in other children (Yes.)
has few or no friends in spite of a desire to have them (Annnnnd yes.)

We go to a follow up in JULY(! !!) and I am interested to see what comes up.

:)



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08 Apr 2008, 4:31 pm

Liverbird wrote:
Pragmatic skills is the ability to appropriately communicate in social situations.

Language (words & definitions) was relatively easy/simple function for me-it's like math with letters, in a way-I can sense relationships between words even when I don't know what they have in common. Socializing (when to deploy which words with whom & how) is still difficult/complex pool of nebulous "judgment calls" (anything could be happening inside another person's head & they've no clear notion of what it's like inside mine, either).

For me: Language involves predominantly thinking. Socializing involves predominantly feeling. Modulating my language in order to make it more socially appropriate is something I'm not very good at, and to some extent I don't wish to sacrifice my authenticity for a "more palatable" version of myself that no longer resembles me. I already censor myself a lot, and can barely stand to go out in public for fear of drawing negative attention. Have intense emotions & tidying them up (the not-so-pretty feelings) for others rubs me the wrong way.

Can't make myself parrot the emotions that I'm "supposed" to have when communicating socially, i.e. politely, properly-if I don't genuinely feel that way. Intellectually, I can think thoughts with words on paper (or verbally-to safe, familiar, accepting people)-which shows my skill at language, but downplays my difficulty in applying/deploying communications.
Online gives me distance from others so that I can be calm enough to express myself (which I couldn't/can't do with strangers "in-person").


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