Tuesday, 12 May 2009
"Birds are entangled by their feet and men by their tongues." -Thomas Fuller
Most Asperger children began talking later than their peers. The amazing thing is that when they finally start talking they often use enormous words. My Aspie was getting close to three before he began talking and then he started talking in complete sentences. We knew he had been listening to the adults around him because he used some pretty big words. His pronunciation was clear.
Autism greatly effects, not speech, but communication. I see the greatest difference between full blown Autism and Aspergers as communication. When my son was going through child guidance clinics, therapists, counselors and doctors, they would say, He has some autistic qualities but he can't be Autistic because he talks. Now we know that Autism can talk and at that point it becomes Aspergers. While the Aspie can talk, he still can't always communicate. When he can't communicate his needs, it will often come through as defiance or a meltdown. Sometimes there are needs that his brain can't put into words, or maybe even into concrete thoughts. Some times they can't communicate their needs and feelings and even their wants, and other times they can. I haven't discovered yet what makes the difference.
There is also the echolalia, the uncontrollable and immediate repetition of words, spoken by another person, echoing back what was said. This is normal and desirable in an infant that is learning to talk. I've not seen any of that in my girls but I have seen it in more severe Aspergers. You might shake an Aspie's hand and say, "Hi, My name is Jane." And they would shake your hand and say in the same tone of voice, "Hi my name is Jane." And that probably isn't their name.
My two Aspie girls have taken speech throughout their schooling. I used to wonder "why" when their pronunciation was so clear. But a speech therapist explained to me that the girls needed it not so much for pronunciation but to be able to communicate their thoughts better.