Oh, Dearest Mother, Sweetest Virgin of Altagracia, our Patroness. You are our Advocate and to you we recommend our needs. You are our Teacher and like disciples we come to learn from the example of your holy life. You are our Mother, and like children, we come to offer you all of the love of our hearts. Receive, dearest Mother, our offerings and listen attentively to our supplications. Amen.



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Willa
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Posted: March 19 2009 at 1:57pm | IP Logged Quote Willa

I'm not even sure what to call it, but I thought maybe some of you special-blessings parents might know what it's called and have some advice for dealing with it.... unless, of course, my son's the only one who does it

Aidan will say things that aren't strictly speaking true, but they aren't lies either.   Like, if you ask him what he did earlier today he will say "we went to the grocery store and got some chips and some apples." Or sometimes he will say things like "Paddy (his younger brother) got in big trouble because he left the door open." Or "we have to get ready to go because it's almost time for my therapy".   In the particular cases the things aren't true.   It's not a lie because there is no intent to deceive. But sometimes he does confuse the situation because basically, when he comes up and says something we're never quite sure if it comes out of his head or reflects reality.

It could be a form of imaginary dialogue, but it doesn't sound like imagination per se, where you know the kid is pretending. He does pretend play but in those cases he usually sets up his equipment and then goes into "pretend mode" and you can tell that's what it is.

My guess is that he wants to sound important or practice saying meaningful things, because he usually says these types of things in a very portentous voice.   

The other thing that occurs to me is that he doesn't quite see the relationship between verbalization and actual THINGS. He likes to talk and use new sentence constructions, and so the effect is that he is chunking mostly meaningless content into a structural frame "yesterday the squirrels came out and they were savagely biting everyone in sight! My goodness! It was really something!"

It is sort of cute but he is almost ten now and I would like to move him towards a habit of speaking accurately.   Any ideas? Any experience with this kind of verbalization?



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mom3aut1not
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Posted: March 19 2009 at 4:23pm | IP Logged Quote mom3aut1not

Willa,

My younger ASD kids have done this a bit, partly due (in one case, at least) a truly horrible memory. Other times it seems as though they are trying to either make sense of a situation and extend their idea (which they may believe) into areas where they can't know -- other people's thoughts for example -- or expounding a reasonable (to them) hypothesis. They may have trouble knowing the limits of knowledge or distinguishing the boundary between hypothesis and fact.

What do I do? With the adult ASD child, I simply tell her that she can't know something or that she is going beyond the facts or whatever. She dismisses me usually, but I am doing what can be done for her. With Joseph, I am a little gentler. I remind him of what happened and what he can know.

Both of them believe what they are saying. Despite what my oldest dd says, they both are very honest, but there is a problem with my youngest dd, in addition to overextension of hypotheses, etc., in that I think she tries, consciously or unconsciously, to fill the holes in her memory with (what she considers) reasonable material. She has trouble seeing her "fill ins" as wrong because she thinks that's the only way things could be!

Interestingly enough, it has never really been an issue outside the family. In fact, our old neighbors believed my youngest dd over their own children. (Ih these instances, my dd was, in fact, correct and completely honest. Her children were lying -- partly to escape the severe punishments she tended to hand out.)

I wonder if you should consider his attempts to use language in new ways as performances rather than as communications of facts? Could you ask him something along the lines of "Are you giving us a performance?" if you think that he is mixing fact and factoids? I would say this in a nonjudgmental fashion or even in a pleased way and try to give him a way to distinguish between truths and performance of untruths.

I guess it depends on whether he thinks what he is saying is true or not. If he thinks what he is saying is true, the only thing to be done now is to remind him of the facts. If he realizes after some help that he isn't being quite accurate, then you can bring the idea of a performance to him as a safe way to play around with linguistic forms and patterns.

In Christ,

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Posted: March 26 2009 at 6:22pm | IP Logged Quote SaraP

My (non-special needs) toddlers and preschoolers do this regularly just because they don't really have a concept of what happened today versus yesterday or last week. So when asked, "What did you do today?" they will say something that they did at some point - but not necessarily today.

Could this still be the case for your son?

I think the technical term for the ability to place memories in time (ie know the difference between a memory from today and one from last week) is called temporal sequencing and I think it usually develops between the ages of 2 and 4 or so, but I don't really know anything about when/how it develops in special needs kids.


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Willa
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Posted: April 03 2009 at 5:12pm | IP Logged Quote Willa

Thanks, folks!

Sara, I will look up temporal sequencing. Aidan has definitely struggled with this in the past and is more "behind" with the concept than he is in some other areas. So perhaps that's part of it in the cases where he says something that really happened but in a different time frame.

Deborah, I am grateful for your experience.   I was talking by phone about what you said to a friend that knows Aidan and she and I thought that part of what might be going on is the "extending hypotheses" only since he is in a way more concrete mode than your daughters he extends concrete ideas.

Yes, I think perhaps with the random stories about the squirrels, etc, I will just use some of the kind of language I use when I'm going along with my TK 6 year old's pretend play.   

Also, my friend suggested that I use some CM-type approaches to learning accuracy, like having him describe what he sees outside the window or on a table, so we can talk a bit about accuracy in that way.

I will let you all know how it goes!

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