Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Language not only means the use of words, but also it includes interpreting what you READ OR HEAR, and the ability to COMMUNICATE your thoughts and feelings.

Last school years the Speech and Language teacher worked with Jacob on finding the main idea when reading or looking at a cartoon. He would focus on a small detail, and not look at the whole picture, picking up on irrelevant items.
Also I notice that he misses the main idea during lots of our conversations together. He picks up on the last word said, and thinks the whole topic centers around that word. This affects him in the classroom, and also in social situations negatively, leading to badly graded papers in school, or misunderstandings between friends.
Listening to people talk is very difficult because people don't usually say the same thing twice, and no two people speak the same way. Fast talking people in particular, are one big question mark for Jacob, and so are complex ideas and directions. He is just learning now to ask them to repeat their sentences again so he can grasp what they are saying.
Understanding certain words, for instance: What, Where and When. If you ask Jacob "When did you brush your teeth ?" he would answer "in the bathroom". Simple little words that make all the difference in the world, that would turn around the meaning of a sentence, he just does not "get". Other words I find he doesn't get are: under and over. Misinterpretation and impaired comprehension is common with AS kids.
Its a huge problem with school and parent communication. He doesn't seem to remember what he needs to and can't communicate it fully to me even when he does remember. I prefer any school communication to be made directly to me, it relieves a lot of small problems.
Other language problems involve confusion with figures of speech; he thinks in concrete and very literal.
Most in the time in school he stares into space with a blank look on his face, or does not follow directions. That's when his brain isn't " receiving", and "transmitting" the way it should. Sometimes it takes a few extra seconds for his brain to process what was being said, and then figure out the right words to answer with.
Other Speech & Language problems:
Changes topics in the middle of conversations without relevance

Difficulty putting thoughts into words (he would not know how to answer ) "What did you do for the weekend?"

Does not understand innuendo, sarcasm, or irony

Doesn't know how to maintain conversations

Needs concrete time-unlike the words "perhaps", or "sometimes" to understand

Does not know when its okay to tell a white lie, is brutally honest

Cannot tell the difference between relevant facts and irrelevant facts

It was great help that whenever there was an incident at school, and there were lots, of Jacob having to report to the principal to tell his side of the story, his teacher would be there with him to help fill in the blanks. That way, all that Jacob was trying to communicate would get across to the principle.