Sunday, April 9, 2017

Different ways to Learn Language

Nolan learns language in a special kind of way.  He learns a script, memorizes it, uses it a lot, uses it in context, and then eventually learns what it actually means.  This  (in my simple understanding of things) is called echolalia.

I read Ten Things Your Student with Autism Wishes you Knew (I have this book if you want to borrow it!  It is a good read!) and that is when I got my best understanding of exactly how this works.  Here is the excerpt.
Here, Nolan fell on the trampoline.  We go through this script fairly often when he slides on the trampoline.  He is starting to fall (on purpose) on the hardwood or snow and do the same script. He is doing it for attention (which is a good thing for him!  He's seeking our attention!) and using it in context.  He says sorry because one time we bumped him and said "whoops, sorry!" and now that is all connected.

Other phrases he currently learned this way:
"awww, I got you" when he wants comfort or is giving it.  Basically any time he gives or wants a hug

"get out" when he is angry (when he would play in the dog water I would be angry and sternly tell him to "get out" so now he says it when he's angry.

"Wait" when he is frustrated.  When every he would be frustrated we would say "waiiit, we will help you."  Now he associates wait with frustration.

"Be nice" whenever hes anxious/doesnt want you to do that.  Mostly, whenever
Stella comes by.  This is basically a I have to be nice and I want her to be nice and she is getting to close kind of thing.  This originated from us telling BOTH of them to be nice to the other when ever they would get close.

We are working on changing up the script when he does something to expand the vocabulary and make the connection.  Example: when he falls, instead of whoops its slippery, I say, "Wow! did you crash down?" We are also working on naming the emotion and what is happening vs the phrases.  "I see you are angry that we turned off Paw Patrol, but it is time to be done.  I know it makes you angry but we are going to find something new to do." etc, etc.

It is very tricky to talk for you child.  Speaking how you want him to copy (saying I want a hug when you are giving him one, saying I am feeling angry when he is, etc) but we are seeing it pay off.  He will eventually learn it and know what the meaning of these words are, we are just taking a very interesting path there!

It is very difficult to me to not have a conversation with my child.  I want to know how his day was, what he thinks is funny, what he wants, what he did today, what he wants to do today.  I want him to be excited about things and want me to know about them.  I want to hear silly stories.  I have hope we will get there.  I dont know what this journey will look like, I dont know how long it will be but I have faith it will happen.  Most days I feel like I am running on my faith, but, in all honesty, aren't we all?

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