Sunday, July 14, 2013
We All Get Asked This...
Are they verbal? This seems to be one of the top questions that we parents of children with Autism get asked. I guess it is a valid question for someone who doesn't really have any understanding of what being verbal means about intelligence or level of functioning. When in doubt... always presume intelligence >>click here<< But what does it mean to be verbal? Traditionally it means talking. Is a child who is scripting movies but can't ask for needs or wants verbal? Technically... yes and no. They are speaking but the communicative intent isn't necessarily there. James was this type of verbal as a little guy. His favorite scripts were CARS and SHREK. He would replay the entire movie verbatim with intonation and switching between the characters but he couldn't tell me he was thirsty. Verbal? Technically YES. Verbal? Functionally NO.
Over the past 6 1/2 years, James has become functionally verbal so today when asked if he is verbal, I don't have to hesitate before saying YES. He is currently fixated on Pokemon, Sonic and sometimes Mario but he can also ask for food, drink and answer questions. He is in a typical classroom (which by the way... isn't always a good thing believe me!!). He speech is still scripted as he learns nuances in the English language. He is currently still trying to figure out idioms but is finally getting some joy out of seeing how silly they can be! Now when he uses an idiom as part of his conversations he punctuates it with, "you know mom... it doesn't mean what you think it means!" I can hear his therapists saying that as he tries to grapple with something outside his black and white world but it makes me smile that he is trying to make his language more rich.
Recently James has been using a few new phrases that I know for sure he was given to try out but they make me smile anyway. I think my favorites are, "For the record" and "Let me rephrase that."