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.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A Lie Becomes the Truth (Alternative Title: "What Happened?!?")

Lo and behold, lie #3 - older sib speaks for younger sib - has become the truth.

By way of background, Jeremy is 22 months older than Bradley, and Jeremy is about as typical as they come in terms of childhood development. I knew Jeremy would be a great big brother to Brad. He's nurturing and caring, and likes to lead in play. Jeremy is also a good peer model, with good social skills and language. What I didn't call is what a great friend Brad would be for Jeremy. Jeremy always seeks out Brad to play. It's not a one-way street, at all. They're like two peas in a pod, and I couldn't be happier.

They often play together, sometimes unattended, and inevitably there's some sort of conflict. After all, they are ages 4 and 6, so play requires some referee-ing.

Into the room I barge.

"What happened?!?"

The problem: Jeremy does all the talking. Perhaps I'm facing Jeremy instead of Brad when I demand an explanation. Perhaps I'm at fault here too.

I've noticed this a lot lately. Sometimes Jeremy reports aches and pains to me, on behalf of Brad. And sometimes, Brad needs help (wiping) in the potty, and rather than holler, Jeremy will come get me.

Now that this revelation has dawned on me, I'm going to make a conscience effort to elicit speech from Brad and tell Jeremy to shush when he goes into spokes-brother mode.

I'm not sure what else to do by way of remediation here. But at least now I know what lie #3 is all about.


Michelle said...

On the other hand, my youner son seems to be NT (for now at least) and I am anticipating the day when he can speak for his big brother a bit.

Nyx said...

I have started to have this problem too, to some extent ... well, I'm not sure if Toby is really counting on Simon (his NT twin) to speak for him, but now that Simon is talking, I do tend to address "What happened?" questions to Simon. And he does do a LOT of talking. What is sort of sweet but also sort of sad is that Simon has begun displaying some protective behavior even when Toby hurts him. The other day I came in, Simon bawling and protecting his hand. "Did Toby bite you?" "No," he says, even though there are clear bite marks. I forget the crazy story he made up. The other day after Toby bit Grandma, Simon insisted that Toby hadn't really done it. It was red marker, he said. Very red marker. Only 3 and already covering for him! I don't know how to remediate either.

rainbowmummy said...

You've noticed. That's excellent. You've made a conscience decision to change it and that's bloody awesome.

Perhaps you could chat with Brad too, I know he's young and I don't know what he knows about Brad, but you could just ask for his help with encouraging more talking from Brad. Perhaps by asking for his help with this he won't think you're having a go. And I know it would be hard, heck I haven't been able to control mine and Ed's speech let alone a six year old brothers but things like when he says Brad needs help in the toilet, maybe you could ask Jeremy to ask/encourage Brad to call for you.

He sounds an absolute darling big brother. Something I wish Egg had. I know it must be super hard at times, I am not trying to undermine having more than one.

father of four said...

Hey Laura. It's great that your boys are such good mates. Ours are too even though their ages are further apart (11 and 6). I don't think it will be too much longer before our youngest is looking out for his big brother.

Kris said...

Laura, are you familiar with RDI? It stresses the difference between imperative and declarative language and how important it is to use declarative language with ASD kids. That was one area we were really not doing well with and didn't even realize it. Using declarative language most of the time helps elicit communication with all children, and is especially helpful for kids on the spectrum. Hope I am not sounding too "lectury"; it just really helped us. Note: we are not actively doing RDI anymore but that was one thing that really stuck with me and I try to use declarative language with Alex whenever I can.

Laura said...

Thanks for the comments everyone. Nyx, with twins, I'm sure you'll run into this one a lot! Kris, I haven't researched RDI but I'm interested in learning more. I understand that RDI is proprietary, has to be licensed, etc., so most therapists don't use it, but you can buy the book and do it on your own? Could you expand upon your comment - what do you mean by declarative speech and how does RDI help?

rainbowmummy said...

I second Laura, I am very keen to learn more about RDI.

Laura, I don't know if you read Day Sixty-Seven (http://daysixtyseven.blogspot.com/) but I know Christine does RDI with her son. I'm egging her on to post more about it :)

Kris said...

Declarative language is also known as experience sharing and it is what we do with other adults and older NT children. Things like "It sure is cold out there." "I really liked that movie." "I wish we were at the beach." are declarative lanauge. It is the first step in back and forth communication that ASD kids tend to have difficulty with. You, the coach and parent, need to get it started.

What we tend to do with younger kids and kids on the spectrum is ask questions that require a only a simple response such as "Aren't you cold?", "Did you like the movie?", "Do you want to go to the beach?" Also we tend to give orders like "Put on your coat". The questions above can be answered with one word responses and it doesn't really teach true, meaningful conversation skills.

Our RDI consultant stressed making an observation (expereince sharing/decarative language) and waiting up to 90 seconds for a response. If we got a response, respond to it with another declarative comment. This teaches back and forth communication. If none was forcoming, it was OK, keep trying throughout the day, try talking to yourself throughout the day (ie thinking out loud) when the child is there, etc. Anything to model true thoughtful communication.

There are many other components to RDI and there were other exercises we did, like going to the grocery store and communicating through facial expressions alone to promote gestures and eye contact, etc. However, the imperative/declarative language was what stuck with me the most.

Yes, RDI is licensed. You pay for the computer access to the program which includes the tutorial and "lessons". You also pay for a consultant to come and do an assessment. The conultant then gives you "assignments" based on where your child's weaknesses are.

There is a great summary of RDI at the This Mom blog (kyraanderson.wordpress.com) (Just google This Mom)The date is 11/7/06 and the title is "Getting Started with RDI". I don't know this blogger so I hope she doesn't mind the reference. It will give you a good summary though. There are books about RDI but I'm not sure you could "do" RDI with just a book. You can certainly apply the principles to your every day life though.

rainbowmummy said...

Wow! I scanned the post and also noticed a few rdi blogs on a bog roll. This is going to be very intresting (when I actually get a chance to read it ;) ). Thanks for sharing, Kris!

K- floortime lite mama said...

how marvelous it must be for them to have each other
I often wonder if R wouldbe better of but then I decide we just could not handle it

Dianne said...

Our 10 year old daughter was diagnosed with Asperger's Autism two years ago.
I would be honored to follow your blog, and just maybe we can be a support for each other.
God bless!