Posts tagged ‘echolalia’
…to go back from whence they came…
I DON’T LIKE THIS NONSENSE!!!! IT’S DISGRACEFUL, DISGUSTING AND DESPICABLE!!!!
I agree, C, I agree.
Whenever I see those shows where someone has achieved something wonderful, I always wait for the inevitable question that follows. “What was the best advice your mother gave you?” I’m not sure how I’d answer that question, because my mother wasn’t full of platitudes with me like I seem to be with C. It would probably not thrill my Mom that the thing I remember her saying the most was, “What price beauty?” This was usually in response to my complaining about the discomfort of panty hose or high heels, two things I no longer own in adulthood. And she was, for the most part, joking. Yet I’m sure she’d just keel over if, as I’m being interviewed by CNN for brokering world peace, the reporter asked me what great advice my Mother gave me and I shared that one with the world.
Lately, C is using those platitudes in his famous echolalic way. He uses them appropriately, but he’s applying them to everyone but himself. Today, to his hab worker as they were throwing a frisbee in the pool, he said, “Everyone’s good at different things.” This was after she told C she wasn’t good at frisbee. In the next breath it was, “You have to try new things,” when she refused to go down the slide that has a weight limit of 60 pounds.
My latest saying to him is in response to his current mode of questioning. “What if?” is his question of choice, which likely taps into his constant worrying. This breaks my heart because nothing I say can seem to ease the worry for him. “What if a dog goes to his bowl and there’s nothing to eat?” “What if we get to camp 5 minutes late?” “What if the sky falls down?” All legitimate questions, yet I can rarely contain my desire to say the most pointlessly true statement of “How about we worry about what’s happening right now?”
I’m pretty sure that one is going to come back to haunt me, and I know where and when it will. Around the second week of school, when we’re working on homework for the upcoming week, my words will be repeated back to me. Again. And again. And probably again. I will remind myself (again) to think ahead before so carelessly spitting out the platitudes.
Imaginary play can be slow to develop in autistic children. Like C’s language of echolalia (repeating things he’d heard elsewhere), he seemed, for a long time, only to play in scenarios taken from somewhere else. He would painstakingly recreate a Thomas the Train episode with his toy engines, no small feat in and of itself, truth be told.
Slowly, however, signs of imagination in his play emerged. While he was and is still rooted in a very concrete world, I see moments of creativity and even downright exaggeration appearing in his thoughts. “There was a fly in my room. Pause. It was THIS big. (Imagine the gesture from the guy telling the fish story inserted here.) I shoo-ded it out of my room. It almost broked the window going outside.”
I laughed out loud at this one. Laughed because, well, it was funny, and laughed because he was so earnest while telling his tall tale. I could picture him years from now shooting the breeze with the guys and perhaps even getting away with it.
And that, I say with delight, is THIS BIG.
C spoke his first word two weeks before his second birthday. He said “more.” We expected additional words to come quickly, but it took another painful year before he added more than a few words. Then, when he was 3 1/2, his language exploded and all of a sudden he had tons of words. Like many children with autism, he repeated phrases and sentences he had heard elsewhere (echolalia). He often used the phrases and sentences in the appropriate situations, but they were all parroted back to us in exactly the way they had previously been spoken by someone else. That someone else was either a family member, a tv commercial, or a cartoon character. It really was quite amazing that he used the words in the correct social situation, which led people to believe he had more language than he did. He never said anything spontaneously, and there were certainly no back and forth conversations.
I remember his first “creative” conversation vividly. We were in Target, and I was buying wrapping paper for his upcoming fourth birthday. I was talking my way through the store in the way I usually did with him – constantly trying to engage him in a real conversation. I told him the birthday paper was for wrapping all of his birthday presents. He was silent for a few moments before he looked through the tube of paper and said, “But Mommy, there’s no presents in there!” I was stunned, and walked around the rest of the store in gleeful, tearful oblivion.