10 months ago



William 95 It is also

William 95 It is also essential to have a good idea of the linguistic tools the child uses, or does not have access to, when engaging in a conversation. What conversational devices does the child employ that are troublesome for other people to tolerate and that need to be limited? What linguistic tools are missing and need to be applied by asking for feedback and clarification? I ask a lot of questions to get around ambiguous references. I try to slow the speech down if it is too fast or speed it up if it’s terse and there are long pauses. I frequently interrupt to encourage the child to get to the point and not spend so much time on the details. I will take the physical context that the child refers to and ask about people in that context. This constant feedback teaches adolescents to be more aware of the skills and linguistic devices needed to have a coherent conversation, so they can keep those rules in their head and use them on their own. * * * Treating the pragmatics of conversation is a matter of gentle persuasion, of challenging the conversation but at the same time being respectful of the child’s level of development. It’s a process of not asking too much but not being afraid to challenge and expect more than what is usually given, of seeing the world through the child’s eyes by taking that imaginative leap but also holding our own world in mind as we gently encourage the child to move from one to the other. If the language game can become more public and less private, more open to a shared context, then the capacity for relationships improves. It is a matter of enticing children with autism and AS to enter our world and show them how much fun it is and then gently closing the door behind them so they don’t have to go back into the world of subways going every which way. This type of gentle challenge may give them a choice between the sense of the word and the presence of the world and allow them to go back and forth at will. To live without metaphors is to live among the particulars, to inhabit a tapestry of details, intricate and fascinating in their design. But it is limiting in that the experience cannot be generalized and categorized. Some things are best left uncategorized to be sure. To have the choice to see the myriad detail here, and then to categorize there, must surely be a privileged place from which to experience the world. Would that we all had that talent.

A Teddy Mind Apart Chapter 7 Teddy Incongruous Time, Incongruous Development The office was more of a mess than usual after the last appointment of the day. I looked around at the scene—my papers were on the floor, books had been pulled from the shelves, crayons had been broken, a new toy truck thrown against the wall, and my coffee cup smashed. All in a day’s work, I thought, but this was a bit much. I felt sorry for the parents who had just left and who must have been mortified that four-year-old Teddy had caused such havoc over the last hour or so. Teddy was very hyperactive and difficult to control since his understanding of language, and of the word “no” in particular, was so limited. It had been obvious that he was not behaving this way to get attention or because he was mad. But since he had not yet developed any play skills, he could only amuse himself by watching things move through the air and make a sound as they hit the floor or the wall. He was quite impulsive; a thought came into his mind and he acted on it, regardless of the consequences. I was told that at home he was much the same— jumping on the couch, climbing on tables and shelves, pulling out the pots and pans from the kitchen cupboards. Each night between 4:00 and 6:00 P.M. he would run between the kitchen, the living room, and the dining room nonstop till his ears were red and he was out of breath. His parents, Sean and Melody, had a younger daughter and an older son 96

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