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Why dont ASD kids Talk ?

Tzoya in another post said that normal kids make the connection between the symbol( spoken language for example )  and the meaning more easily while ASD kids may not - This is a HUGE lightbulb for me

Is this the reason why ASD kids dont talk  or talk late? Am I the only person in the world who did not know this ?

Are there any other reasons why ASD kids dont talk ( apart from apraxia and phycisal issues I mean - ie not talking resulting from ASD not another condition )

I would say that not making the connection between the symbol and the meaning makes a lot of sense as to why they can't talk or talk late. My son also struggles from verbal apraxia and has an extremely difficult time forming the words. I would imagine this leads to frustration (not being able to imitate sounds, words) and would be easier to give up. He will try to ask for something and if we don't understand, he gets upset. He is getting much better with intense ABA and speech therapy. He is also getting the motivation to speak as it is rewarding.Well you may be onto something there as to why ASD kids do not talk in the sense of conversing back and forth. I know I certainly needed to have mental pictures attached to words before I could use and understand them.

However I don't think that has anything to do with just simple verbalization (aside from a physical handicap). That's mostly because I, as well as several others on the high end of the spectrum, was using words and phrases and reciting books and poems even as I was learning to walk. However I was probably in kindergarten before I ever really started getting the idea of how to begin conversations, and I was well into grade school before I was any good at it. I had to sort of plan out what I'd say ahead of time, and also anticipate the response so that I could plan a response of my own. I would actually have to picture the conversation in my head so that it felt "familiar" once I did it for real. Without that prompt I could not carry on a conversation and would appear blank if you asked me something that I wasn't expecting, even though I could recite an entire episode of He-Man or Care Bears at will.

So I definitely think there's a difference between being verbal and being conversational. I think it has more to do with where the fixation lies, and whether it's visual or auditory. It's possible that kids who are lower on the spectrum may have fewer, and simpler, fixations. And since autistic kids are by and large visual learners, even the ones who experience echolalia, odds are their fixations will be visual and not auditory. Thus, maybe these kids just don't pick up on the language because they aren't paying attention to it. They don't need it for attending to visual interests. They don't attach words to pictures (which seems to be a necessary component for conversation here), which means they aren't picking the words up at all (because they usually don't notice much beyond their fixations aside from biological needs). Therefore they aren't echolalic, so the end result is that until they can be taught to converse, they are not verbal at all.

That's my take anyway.stickboy2639225.2966782407I am about to develop my own theory about that in my son's case... There are 2 different things: the ability to speak and the motivation. The first can be improved by therapy as in my son's case as soon as he made some sense out of what he heard he started talking back. But the second I think that reffers the lack of Theory of mind and it's about what makes us willing to communicate - socialy. Why do we feel the need to talk, share thoughts, sensations, emotions. To start with what makes a child willing to say "Hi" and "Bye" and point to show you things. It's not a necessity, it's a social part of communication without a "must". That's harder. It can be improved also but overall it might look like a learned thing not "born with".ASD children definitely learn language in a different way. My son learns English as a foreign language. He doesn't seem to pick up meanings of new words from context so he needs someone to explain explicitly what a new word means. There is just a huge discrepancy between what he is thinking and what he is able to express verbally. I liken it to being asked a question in a foreign language that you kind of know--sometimes you just give simple answers because the complex answer in your head is too difficult to express in the foreign language and you simply do not know the words to say it or how to put the words together. So you end up saying: yes, I like orange juice instead of: i like orange juice only when it's cold and there is not too much pulp in it.
Nowwhat

Sarah's language took off when we paired the pic...with the meaning and tried to find the actual objects as well..ex. apple pic, verbalize apple and hold, smell and taste apple: describe apple~fruit, sweet, red, green, yellow ect...and then she knew exactly what it was. The good thing with all of the this is that once they get it they never forget...memory thank goodness is excellent so even though the teaching is tedious..and I do think motivation is a BIG factor also..they do learn it just not in the conventional way.

Nick~your explaination gave me hope that she will find the keys to social language even if it takes her longer..she is very visual and reads extremely well so I am hoping she has volumes of scripts to use on hand the older she gets till is is second nature....it is amazing how the brain compensates for this:)

I was told by our neuropsych that ASD children (and this is all ASD children across the board) have difficulty talking because parts of their brain do not communicate at all or as well as NT children's brains do. Communication requires assessment of the situation, the brain doing a sort of scan of available ways to respond, and then the ability to actually articulate the chosen way to respond. This requires the different parts of the brain to communicate very efficiently, very fluidly and very rapidly. But the ASD brain can not do this type of 'scan' so easily. It has great difficulty. It can be learned but it doesn't come naturally to the ASD brain. I don't know if this answers your question, but this is what I was told by our neuropsych. Hope this helps.

stick - thanks for you insight.  I feel that they tendency to be narrowly focused on an interest rather than engaging in the social world is what delayed their language more than anything.  I don't think it's the autism itself that caused their language delay, but I think it's their autistic tendency to block out much external stimuli and focus on one thing intently that led to them becoming increasingly delayed, as they simply failed to notice much of the language and social exchanges that were happening around them.

I also think that language to them is more of an intellectual challenge than something that comes naturally, as others have said.  They clearly have to think much harder about language than typical kids do - you can see them concentrating, trying to find the right words, and the effect (in addition to poor syntax and grammer) is that auxillary parts of verbal communication (volume, rythm, intonation, non-verbal coordination with a partner, etc) suffer - they tend to speak at inappropriate volume and there isn't as much inflection in their voice and talk over other people - that sort of thing.  I haven't decided if this difficulty with co-processing language is due to the autism directly, or due to the problem described above - that simple lack of exposure to language and social exchanges (due to self imposed isolation behavior) caused certain parts of their brains to develop more slowly or simple be discarded during the natural pairing down of neurons that happens in kids - use it or lose it, kwim?

They're just not that good at it, which is a shame, because they really LOVE to talk!  They have a lot to say, but they have a hard time expressing themselves.  It really does appear that they are learning a foreign language and are in that stage where they have to think very hard about the words they choose, syntax, grammer, etc. and the natural flow of conversation suffers for that.  I hope that they will become fluent one day, because their tendency to talk a LOT coupled with their language issues really makes them stand out, which will make them targets in the future.

fred39225.3286574074

ASD kids have a terrible time learning how to make inferences, and if you look at language, it is based on inferences!  For example, an ASD kid might not understand that you want her to pick up her coat if you say, "Honey, I almost stepped on your coat." 

In another thread, I think started by Fred, the topic of declarative v. imperative language really is the thing you all are discussing here.  We talk to our kids in imperatives for many reasons: the desire for us to feel like they are undersatnding us, thus communicating with us, the ASD child's inability to carry on a back/forth meaningful conversation, and the biggest reason, I think, because they don't really understand the subltle nuances of language.

That said, through RDI, we have really been upping the d v. i language in our home, and we are seeing tremendous advances in more meaningful language.  Our son is sharing things with us and learning to make inferences when we want him to do something.  It is so easy to say, "pick up...", but when we say, "I think you may have forgotten something..." He is learning to follow us.

[quote="fred"]stick - thanks for you insight. I feel that they tendency to be narrowly focused on an interest rather than engaging in the social world is what delayed their language more than anything. I don't think it's the autism itself that caused their language delay, but I think it's their autistic tendency to block out much external stimuli and focus on one thing intently that led to them becoming increasingly delayed, as they simply failed to notice much of the language and social exchanges that were happening around them.[/quote]

Exactly what I was trying to get at.

[quote]not because he doesn't get his way, but
because he hates "being wrong"[/quote]

I think you're exactly right. It's not really scheming they way some people might think. It's not really a power play or trying to get one over on you like what you might expect from, say, your typical grade schooler or preteen. It's more of a "I have this need and I really need to fix it but I really don't want anyone mad at me" sort of thing. Thus the goal is pretty much to figure out how to fix the problem without being a problem. But because it appears so similar to typical mischief to the untrained eye, a lot of times it is wrongly construed as such. [quote="MamaKat"]Though many of his language problems have been resolved, he still
seems to have a lot of anxiety when it comes to asking for what he wants.
( he hints, rather than asks) [/quote]

I've found myself doing that quite a bit. There seems to be something strange going on there in the way of being assertive. I feel like other people seem to get their needs met rather fluidly when dealing with others, whereas I always have trouble getting other people to not appear inconvenienced at my request. I will admit that I have developed somewhat of an inferiority complex, and don't feel like my ideas or suggestions have a lot of merit. So a lot of times what I do is wait until I hear a suggestion that I like, and go along with it. If there's something I really think is a good idea, a lot of times I'm afraid people will think I'm weird for suggesting it since no one has suggested it already. So what I'll do is say things that kind of hint at what I'm wanting to do or get, that way when people pick up on what I'm talking about, I will be able to observe their unbiased response (since they only know what I'm talking about -- not that I actually want whatever it is). If the reaction is favorable, then I'll go ahead and suggest that we should consider doing or getting whatever it is. If they act unfavorably when they pick up on it, then I'll be able to evaluate that I've made a bad suggestion without actually receiving the derision directly.

This seems to keep me from being the butt of many jokes. In fact, the first person to pick up on the "bad" idea is usually the one that takes the heat. Now that I think about it, that may be one of the ways that I deflected teasing when I was in high school.

Your boy's way of asking for a cookie seems vaguely familiar. Before kindergarten I often talked in the third person because I was mimicking. I heard myself referred to as "he" so I would say "he wants..." instead of "I want..." Do you have particular times when it is appropriate to have a cookie? Maybe your boy doesn't want to get in trouble for asking for a cookie at an inopportune time, so he's hoping that if he "hints," you might guess (thereby suggesting) "cookie" without him ever having to. This way he has asked for a cookie while avoiding reprimand. I'm not necessarily saying this is what he did, but I know I've done stuff like that before, and still do.

Nick, did you have any formal social skills training in school? 

I am pushing assertiveness for my daughter.  Hoping puberty won't regress her too much from it ...

As I said to my husband, after leaving the IEP meeting, I wish someone had done this for ME.  And I do think ALL kids should get it.

Nick, I think you are completely correct about Jasper. My gut feeling is that
he's always afraid the answer will be no, so he is reluctant to ask. It's like he
is traumatized by hearing no--not because he doesn't get his way, but
because he hates "being wrong". He'll often go to great lengths (with tears
in his eyes) to convince me that he "really meant I want a cookie
TOMORROW". [quote]Nick, did you have any formal social skills training in school?[/quote]
Um... no. When I was in elementary school a gifted IQ and a high-school level vocabulary and reading comprehension meant that there was absolutely no excuse whatsoever for not being able to interact socially. Certainly not autism. At that time autistic kids had less than a 10-word vocabulary, they had a low or nonexistant IQ, and they stared into space and rocked back and forth all day. So I sure didn't fit into that pigeonhole. When I would mess up I was usually just considered out of line and treated as such. That's why I had to go to such great lengths to find ways around the hurdles since no one really helped me over them.

[QUOTE=MamaKat]Nick, I think you are completely correct about Jasper. My gut feeling is that
he's always afraid the answer will be no, so he is reluctant to ask. It's like he
is traumatized by hearing no--not because he doesn't get his way, but
because he hates "being wrong". He'll often go to great lengths (with tears
in his eyes) to convince me that he "really meant I want a cookie
TOMORROW". [/QUOTE]

i relate a lil to you kat. my son had language at 2, but just single words and he always hd to be prompted. now he still has be to prompted but very litttle. he says things like "Moses likes cookies" referring to himself as Moses instead of the "I". H enever uses the word "I". Sometime she even referrs to himself as "He". He takes ST and OT and he has come a long way since he started preschool last year in Aug. He talks a lot now, sometimes he does babble or say things that dont make sense but i just try to always correct him. I know it can be frustrating but its something i had to learn how to deal with .... so he achieves his goals.

Yes I have a talker, alot like stickboy. A precociously verbal kid who was
speaking in full sentences and paragraphs by two. But, even with all
those words he couldn't have a conversation with anyone, or ask for what
he wanted directly--If he wanted a cookie, he would say something like,
"Do you want a snack, please? Yes! You want a snack not from the
refrigerator. Not wet. you want the one from the cupboard. The big
cupboard. Something in a box."

It was almost if language for him was another way of ordering the world
around him, instead of mainly for communication. He was labeling,
talking to himself, and defining things, figuring out how THINGS fit into
the bigger picture, but not conversing at all. His pronouns were all mixed
up, yet he could talk about things like space and the planets with great
clarity.

Though many of his language problems have been resolved, he still
seems to have a lot of anxiety when it comes to asking for what he wants.
( he hints, rather than asks) And he can't figure out how to talk to other
kids at all. He is just starting to talk to adults he doesn't know. He is
pretty new at answering their questons with more than a yes or no.

So, I think this whole understanding of what language is for is the issue
for our kids whether our kids are verbal or not.
I'd love to hear more from stickboy on this one.

I think a big thing that stumps us "NT" parents is the idea of talking.  When our kids (NT and otherwise) are babies, we automatically teach and listen for our children  to verbalize words.  It seems an NT child will pick up on what a given word sounds like as well as what it "looks" like, all at the same time.

If you think of verbalizing as two different processes (sound and looks), you begin to understand how the skill of speaking can become difficult.  As we all know, an autistic mind does not always compute things the way we understand, so again we are stumped.

When Tony was younger (about 2-3), he HAD language, it was just not what WE expected it to be.  We used to joke in our house that Tony talked, he just spoke Japanese!  He just seemed to have no interest in learning OUR langauge, or in communicating with us through words.

As our kids get older, the whole meaning of talking becomes more complex... as was discussed in the other thread.   "Talking" becomes a standard term for "communicating", which of course are two totally different things. 

Tony's verbalization skills have improved tremendously, but his communication skills still stink.  More often than not, he "copies" lines from movies, video games, etc. to express himself.  Many of us know this is quite common with our kids.  Too often, he has no response at all.  To him, none is necessary. 

If we think about a typical conversation between two "NT" people, think about what is necessary information and what is just fluff.  You'd be surprised how much would be cut out if we only verbalized the "necessary" and cut out the "fluff"!

Mary

 

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