About this blog.

My son was diagnosed with PDD-NOS at 24 months. I created this blog to bring meaning to the often-confusing label. Sometimes I have answers. Other times, just more questions.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Syllogism-ism: Part I

As I blogged last week, lately I have been concerned about Brad's ability to make those higher order connections. Recall Brad's speech evaluation over the summer. I was a bit - shall we say - prickly in the immediate wake of the debrief with the speech language pathologist. As I blogged, she told me that Brad was rigid and lacked imagination.

So I was reactionary. That's my M.O. when some one tells me something I don't want to hear. But to give me credit, over time, I was able to be objective about the evaluation and appreciate what she was trying to tell me; my reactionary phase was short-lived. Herein lies what separates a denialist from a realist.

She also told me something I hadn't previously considered: he's impaired in verbal reasoning.

"What???" I asked. No, Brad has a communication impairment but his ability to reason is perfectly in tact, I thought. Reasoning and language are totally separate areas of the brain. I read that somewhere. He has a language impairment. And a sensory issue. And a social issue. And poor working memory. But reasoning is intact. It's that simple, I reassured myself.

I hate it when I'm wrong.

After originally dismissing the SLP, I have come to believe that she is correct: Brad does have an impairment in verbal reasoning. What that means (disorder versus delay) and how it will play out, I'm not sure. But that he has an impairment is pretty obvious now that it's been brought to my attention.


father of four said...

Oh, Laura. Our children do learn differently, but they can learn and there are many ways to help them. I am often amazed at my own son's successes even though he processes information differently and we really haven't known what to do. I am still just part way through the mis-labelled child but already have found a few more keys to try and unlock his potential. I know Brad is very fortunate to have you guide him.

A little boy just 3 years old said...

Piggybacking off 'father of four'.... it IS amazing to see it click. DS won't ask for clarification.

Eg. "Go get me that book"
"what book?" or "which one"

With some modeling, he did it on his own after seeing it only 3 times. We just didn't know to show him that way. We really didn't know what we wanted... this is why we NEED these professionals to help us!

Laura said...

father of four, thanks for your encouraging words. ALBJ3YO, I totally know what you mean, and yes, modeling works, and it's wonderful when they generalize what they've learned.

Nyx said...

you have homed right in on my worst fear and forced me to face it. But how can you tell that it's really a higher-order reasoning problem? I mean, isn't it possible that he just doesn't understand what the question means? E.g., is it possible that he doesn't get the future tense? Do I sound like I'm grasping at straws? I don't mean to be, it's just ... it's all so confusing. Your story about setting the table is a good one. Every day I have these experiences, where it seems like my son just doesn't get something that should be SO OBVIOUS, and I want to cry, and then later he says something that seems SO SMART. He'll see an animal lying down and say "he's sleeping," but then the other day during (yet another) speech evaluation, he incorrectly answered questions like "which one is the boy who is sleeping?" if he gets hurt he'll say "put goop on it" and "need a band-aid." but he struggles with yes and no questions. Is it really a reasoning problem? Or is it a verbal problem? Like past you, I want to separate language from reasoning. Are you sure? Are you really sure? Isn't there a way to test nonverbal reasoning?

Laura said...

Nyx, ha! no I'm not sure. my take: I think it's associative thinking, which is a form of lower order thinking and is at odds with deductive reasoning. And if a child spends too much time before age 5 on associational thinking and not enough time on deductive, then the educational challenges will be significant in later years. Well school may be challenging regardless.

But...BUT: I am an eternal optimist. But my optimism is not to hope that what's going on now is entirely attributable sensory processing or language organization. My optimism is that the higher order thinking impairment is in the nature of a delay (versus a permanent disorder), ie he'll make those connections eventually, only later, and normalize with respect to reasoning ability. Or maybe even excel. (I told you I'm an optimist.)

Kris said...

I am reactionary too. I usually need time to let things sink in.

Alec works on these kinds of thinking skills (at a bit higher level as he is 6) at speech therapy too. He usually does well with them. However, it is like when it is not right there in front of him he often does not "get" things. Does that make sense? I am often looking for "Thinking Skills" workbooks for him. I also try to get him to think of alternative solutions to problems when I think of it.
Sometimes he is clueless and sometimes he amazes me. I struggle to understand how he thinks.

Anonymous said...

"...she told me that Brad was rigid and lacked imagination."

We heard this as well and saw it in our daughter for a long time. Recently, something clicked for her and we've seen an unbelievable explosion in pretend and imaginative play. I don't know if we could have done anything to make it happen sooner, but suddenly, it's just there.

It's challenging to weed through thought processes, isn't it?

Brad's blessed to have you by his side committed to figuring it out together.

(I hate it when I'm wrong too.)

K said...

many many hugs
I hate these moments of realising a new challenge - hitherto unknown
Still they are important and necessary
And the fact is that Brad's verbal reasoning will come of course
Its the realising and then the planning on how to overcome which is hard,
But you will do it

Nyx said...

OK, but ... in this example, I don't see how this storyline necessarily leads to the conclusion presented. there seem to be many hidden assumptions, including: (a) it is really important to get this birthday present; (b) only the cars will do; (c) time is of the essence ... if my son had ever accompanied me in real life on such an outing, I actually rather doubt that we would have launced an all-out quest to locate the cars. I mean, if they don't have to get the present today, they might just come back later to see if the cars are back in stock, or order the cars online, or even ... buy something else! These are a lot of assumptions for a little boy to be clued into, it seems to me. I guess I don't really know how a typical little boy would respond to this question, but it strikes me that perhaps it is really testing how well the child is able to guess what the tester wants to hear, rather than how logical the child is. It also seems to me that if your child is TOO logical, he will see that anything could happen at this point in the story. It seems to me that there is something about requesting a person to engage in a hypothetical which implicates some things that are not strictly related to reasoning. Not that those aren't important things, just ... they seem different. It seems like a person might well be able to actually engage in the relevant sort of problem solving -- i.e., figure out to go to another store when faced with the actual situation, but perhaps not come up with that answer during the test for a variety of reasons. I get it that that is not verbal reasoning, but I guess again, I am not sure I get which part of the "verbal reasoning" is verbal and which part is reasoning, or how you tease them apart. ... well, I've got a lot of learning to do I guess.

Anonymous said...

ditto K. sometimes it knocks me off my feet when i realize i forgot to worry about x,y,z and verbal reasoning. brad WILL get it through modeling, syllogisms and whatever else - just like he's blossoming so well in pretend play - i have no doubt he'll leap this next hurdle.

Laura said...

Blackknightsbrood and K, thanks for the notes. Nyx, I don't think anyone knows for certain "what's going on in there", but I do intuit that associational thinking is not higher level thinking, and so I think it's highly productive when we can break out of that and reason things out. It is "therapy" and therefore not organic, but I think it is nevertheless effective. But I do appreciate what you are saying, and I shared your skepticism at first. The other part of it is that Brad loves these things, and begs me to do stories with him. So there's that too.

Laura said...

rhemashope, thanks! and I appreciate the encouragement....

A little boy just 3 years old said...

Just want to add NYX that my son WOULD actually fit the mold of this story. If I told him we came to get a present and that present was a car - I have 3 choices. 1. Get a car 2. Deal with a tantrum over the fact that we didn't get the car or 3. Use a tool such as this to explain that it is OK to go to another store.

Anonymous said...