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PeterPan

Narrative language in autism

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4 hours ago, Lecka said:

 

I am a little confused by it right now.  My son can do the Critical Thinking Triangle.  

He is like what they talk about in Mindwings, where he can do everything if he is prompted by a series of questions.  He can say 3-4 sentences on his own, but he can’t say a whole thing on his own.  But he can say everything as a sentence.

 

Sorry, I was confused, because I thought you were comparing him to my ds, which confused me. It sounds like the school has worked on a lot of language, and you're doing the step of pulling the language into narratives. I think you know this, but you're sorting through what stage of narrative he's at independently, what stage he can do with prompts, etc. And I think just sort through your goals and what you think fits. 

And I agree with Kbutton that it's easy to have parts or have parts in one context and need a LOT OF WORK to get those parts to connect with other settings, other situations, other applications, and actually get used. MW/SGM doesn't talk about this (or do they?) but I think the parts (pick a side, any side) of the CTT have great potential for self-advocacy. I think working on the *parts* till the parts are generalized can be good.

And if you look at the abbreviated narrative stage, it uses only 2 of the 3 parts of the CTT, yes? So you'd prioritize those back and forths (both directions between those two pieces) and get them naturalized and generalized into narratives before you'd worry about the 3rd.

And you wouldn't do any of that (in theory, unless your opinion is different) until you nail the previous stages of narrative you were working at. 

But it seems totally good to me and awesome that they're working on language. And in their own way maybe they're doing these pieces at school and he's just not *using* them at home? And then you'd just be realizing the pieces could happen and working on getting them to come out in life? 

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I think it’s more that he runs out of steam.  He just kind-of runs out of steam and then he is done until there’s another question.

Sometimes he might mention these 2-3 elements, sometimes he might mention a different 2-3 elements.  He mixes and matches with what has struck him the most, I think.

I am just reading through and he can answer many (most) of the scaffolding questions in the beginning of book 3 (though I may have only looked at part of this section?   I’m not sure). 

It could still be organization, too.

I tend to feel like — okay, he’s a little tired from that much talking, so I will move on for a bit.  I never really stop and say “okay, that’s great, now let’s expand that,” because I think he needs a little break, and then we just move on... 

I feel a little stuck on it, but really I know we are doing some good things every day.  I think any reading aloud plus modeling or discussion etc is good to do, it is just I do talk more and don’t want him to dislike hanging out with me.

I can be actually pushy with math and just get him to do it, if it comes to that sometimes, but I can’t do it for reading.  

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He can use quite a bit for self-advocacy and there’s been certain language we’ve focused on because people think it’s helpful.

He does say “the problem is,” “I’m mad because,” “if this happens.... [then I will.... [[be mad, skip school forever, not do math ever again]].  He does a lot of bargaining and he tries to make threats using “if” that we have to talk him down from...  he will say “if this happens, I will [makes a threat to do something naughty].  But then — he is saying it, he’s not doing it.

He does not really flesh a lot out and if there is backstory to “why he’s mad” we may have to ask and ask for more details, which he can then say, but he doesn’t say them upfront most of the time. 

It’s talked about in the autism books I think, it jumps out at me lol.  

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8 minutes ago, Lecka said:

Sometimes he might mention these 2-3 elements, sometimes he might mention a different 2-3 elements.  He mixes and matches with what has struck him the most, I think.

Now see THIS is what makes me angry about "I can buy a $10 TPT set and teach kids narrative language!!!" people. I mean seriously. So they teach a zillion things upfront and the kid is like I don't know, I'll just stab and pick 3. What is he supposed to do with that??? It's overwhelming. So I think backing up is so, so good. It lets you see what his "runs of out of steam" for that narrative stage looks like. 

10 minutes ago, Lecka said:

I tend to feel like — okay, he’s a little tired from that much talking, so I will move on for a bit.

I don't know, I try to kind of weave it into other things. So it's not like drill drill but more like drip drip.

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6 minutes ago, Lecka said:

He does say “the problem is,” “I’m mad because,” “if this happens.... [then I will.... [[be mad, skip school forever, not do math ever again]].  He does a lot of bargaining and he tries to make threats using “if” that we have to talk him down from...  he will say “if this happens, I will [makes a threat to do something naughty].  But then — he is saying it, he’s not doing it.

I kind of really love this. :biggrin: I've heard kids with language like this, and it just makes me smile (at the proficiency). I don't know. He's gonna be a charming version of who he is, kwim? Do you enjoy it or does it seem natural for him? 

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4 minutes ago, Lecka said:

He does not really flesh a lot out and if there is backstory to “why he’s mad”

I think it's really hard to take a whole big thing, a progression, whatever, and put it into new, really concise words. For us we're like oh that's easy, just say blah blah, but for my ds, maybe for your ds, sometimes those new words aren't there, words other than what he's used to saying for it. Like he had the sequence of the sentences that he could say but to boil it into one phrase is new syntax, really rough. 

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14 minutes ago, Lecka said:

I think it’s more that he runs out of steam.  He just kind-of runs out of steam and then he is done until there’s another question.

Sometimes he might mention these 2-3 elements, sometimes he might mention a different 2-3 elements.  He mixes and matches with what has struck him the most, I think.

Does he seem distracted when he's running out of steam? I am picturing him saying something, then fidgeting and losing his train of thought, but that's just a picture I have based on when I see distractable kids try to talk, lol! Nothing specific at all regarding what I know about your DS.

6 minutes ago, Lecka said:

He does not really flesh a lot out and if there is backstory to “why he’s mad” we may have to ask and ask for more details, which he can then say, but he doesn’t say them upfront most of the time. 

Does this go with the running out of steam part, or is this a general statement that is related in another way? 

Is this a POV thing? Like maybe it's shifting in his mind even as he's speaking--he hears his thoughts become more real when he says something, but then maybe it seems less...important? Less amazing in his own mind? Not as connected as he thought maybe it was going to sound? Sometimes my son will realize right after he says something that it's not as "big" as it seemed in his mind once he's verbalized it. That does take the steam out of him, and then he might feel foolish (we try to make sure that he's not hard on himself--it's a GOOD thing sometimes to have a big deal become a little deal by verbalizing it--it's kind of magic and helpful.

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page 4.13 of ASD book 1, Moreau makes a comment "As students become more proficient at thinking about and expressing these episode components, their comprehension of the situation or story increases...not only by number... but the quality of the 'details' ...

I'd like to see some real life examples of Abbreviated Episodes. So far the stages have seemed pretty natural, but this is kind of funky because it's like the dc gets so wrapped up in pondering the emotion that it's just like boom, done, down to the bow tie. So it's a radically different type of narrative in that sense, which is why I'm trying to ponder what this is like in real life.

To answer my own question, 4.9 has brief examples. They're kinda crummy, but they're there. I don't think their example is exactly what it would be like, but it makes sense to me now. Yeah, I could totally imagine those happening. But they would happen naturally as his use of emotion cranks up. Without that, you wouldn't have it, lol. 

The other thing that shows is when they're saying emotion following a kick-off, they're talking something possibly more complex than hot/cold, sad/happy. How the person felt about it involves some inferences and perspective taking complexity.

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8 hours ago, kbutton said:

Do any of the books you have do those concept maps for each of the six strands of language development?

 

I don't think so.  Thememaker looks way too advanced at this point.  I'm probably going to get the second Critical Thinking Triangle book sometime fairly soon, though.  

8 hours ago, kbutton said:

Like, he's seeing enough of the whole to answer the questions, but maybe not seeing the whole as the sum of the parts and pieces--like he's seeing each part as its own task and not realizing he has to include all of it, every time.

 

I am thinking about this.  I think it could be indistinct as far as -- him actually organizing all his thoughts.  I think that is probably true.  But I think in a "needs more time and practice" way?  

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23 minutes ago, Lecka said:

I think in a "needs more time and practice" way?  

There's a lot of space between the beginning and later stages of 

6 hours ago, PeterPan said:

story increases...not only by number... but the quality of the 'details' ...

And I think some of it can just be reality. Like you like your kid and he's making an attempt to communicate. When my ds rolls with his narrations, he still sounds like himself, like his autistic self. They're still reflecting his droning, professorial mind, still reflecting where his language is, still reflecting how engaged he is. I think my ds' language has just flat improved over the last year. The things that were sorta there as skills have become stronger tools. Just like a 4 yo narrates better than a 2 yo. To me it's literally that kind of shift I'm seeing, a shift in the quality of what's coming out, even though the components are still at a pretty basic level for stage. 

Two nights ago he tried to tell me the story line for Trumpet of the Swan which really cracked me up because, one, I hadn't read the book, and two the narrative stage SO needed to be greater to express the book AT ALL, lol. I mean it was literally incomprehensible. He literally told me this action sequence with like 18 actions all strung together, and I was totally dumbfounded. :biggrin: Great quality of details at this point, because every single one of those actions was a complete sentence, with all the sentences run together!!! LOL It was hilarious! It was like what would happen if your brain expanded beyond that stage and needed to express more but you didn't have the ability to go to the next narrative stage. You'd be like an ostrich busting out of an egg. It was hilarious.

So that's why I decided to be really tight with this: we're going to teach the emotions with the language to do the exact legs of the CTT that he needs to get to the next stage. And since it took him a YEAR to go from beginning to maxed out on ONE STAGE, I would not be shocked if he stays at the next stage a while. *Maybe* we would get through abbreviated and complete in a year. But I really don't think so. That's how clueless he is.

He sat with an OT years ago and said emotions for movies. I was telling the behaviorist, like what happened to that kid??? She's like oh, well show him that same movie in that same room with that same worker, haha. Like it wasn't real, wasn't generalized.

So me, I'm gonna call it astonishing progress if, within the next calendar year, my ds can do the next stage for him (abbreviated narrative) at a really nice level, just naturally and fluidly, in any setting. That's it. That's the entire extent of my goals. All the way, beautiful, whatever that looks like for him.

But I really do think you can allow for personality, for reality. I don't expect my ds' narratives to look like my dd's did. I don't expect as much overall language, as much description, as much pleasure in holding your attention, and I expect more emphasis on action. He's a boy and wired to notice different things, so I expect the narrative to reflect what he thinks was important. Like you know the running joke, ask a boy and a girl to draw the same thing (a rocket) and the girl gives all these pretty details and the boy draws squiggles of action, lol. I don't know if it's true or not, but I think gender, personality, etc. show up in the narrative. I don't think it's a failure if the narrative stage looks like the best version of what they're ready to give. It isn't popular to talk about gender now, but I think at the very least saying personality, etc. matter. But what I could have taken as personality (just don't care to share, too busy, too whatever) was actually that he needed a LOT OF PRACTICE to go from formative to skillful at it. I mean, doing a reactive stage narrative on ToS is not shabby, haha. Blew my mind, lol. And that took a full year. And I'm constantly talking with him, putting him into situations where that happens. 

23 minutes ago, Lecka said:

Thememaker looks way too advanced at this point.

Yeah, I was looking over the charts last night and got REALLY DISGRUNTLED IN MY EVER RUSHING SOUL to realize that moving up to abbreviated narratives doesn't get us anything new with expository. It just doesn't. And it doesn't matter that at 5th maybe they'd be doing some of those more advanced forms. Nope, we're still back with really basic descriptive, sequencing paragraphs. Even the compare/contrast, which fits with the N/N skill I wanted to work on, I need to look at again to see if it's considered in reach.

So all I was thinking then was ok, EMBRACE THE PACE. Like what does it really mean to do descriptive and sequential nonfiction writing at this point, have we embraced it fully, have we fleshed out as far as the things he's really developmentally ready to do can be done? I think that's my challenge. Because this past year our nonfiction writing was really crappy basic. I mean really crappy basic.

So maybe what it's saying with the charts and timetable is don't move forward, flesh it out, improve the quality of the details. And, fwiw the picture I have in my mind is the writing samples they gave me as reports the 4th graders do at our ps. I think those could actually be *goals* for us now. So writing a 2-4 page report on a topic would be the fleshed out, kicked up, developmentally appropriate thing he's ready to do. It's why I really think it's time to adjust his IEP grade, because leaving it too high is misleading workers who try to work with him, etc.

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7 hours ago, PeterPan said:

I kind of really love this. :biggrin: I've heard kids with language like this, and it just makes me smile (at the proficiency). I don't know. He's gonna be a charming version of who he is, kwim? Do you enjoy it or does it seem natural for him? 

 

Most of the time he is saying things like "If you make me turn off the tv, I am never doing math again."  I do think that is cute 🙂 

He does a lot of "If you do this, then I am going to be mad."  That's something we can talk about more.

I don't remember exactly what he says, but he says some really complicated sentences when he is mad about something with his brother and asking for him to get grounded, saying it's not fair if he doesn't get grounded, etc.  This will be because he wants it to be his turn on the tv.  Or its not fair because his brother got a long turn earlier in the day.  

We previously had a lot of behavior issues around taking turns with the tv, and he used to not be able to stand it being anyone else's turn or a tv show or movie that was not his choice.  We have a second tv now that the kids can use with permission, but everyone would rather be on the tv in the basement.  

7 hours ago, kbutton said:

Does he seem distracted when he's running out of steam? I am picturing him saying something, then fidgeting and losing his train of thought, but that's just a picture I have based on when I see distractable kids try to talk, lol! Nothing specific at all regarding what I know about your DS.

 

He isn't distracted exactly, but he will say things like "I'm done" and "that's all I'm going to say."  He says those to me often.  He is coming across like -- "let's get back to the book, or I WILL get fidgety."  Not like -- it's that conscious -- but just like -- he's going to get fidgety if I keep going with it.  And then that is not productive.  

8 hours ago, kbutton said:

Is this a POV thing? Like maybe it's shifting in his mind even as he's speaking--he hears his thoughts become more real when he says something, but then maybe it seems less...important? Less amazing in his own mind? Not as connected as he thought maybe it was going to sound? Sometimes my son will realize right after he says something that it's not as "big" as it seemed in his mind once he's verbalized it. That does take the steam out of him, and then he might feel foolish (we try to make sure that he's not hard on himself--it's a GOOD thing sometimes to have a big deal become a little deal by verbalizing it--it's kind of magic and helpful.

 

I think it's more not realizing how much detail to share to provide us with the information we need.  Like -- theory of mind to know what to tell his audience.  But I think it's also just -- getting into there being more sentences for him to say than he really says at the same time.  Sometimes he does say more, too, but this is common.  

Like -- he might say "I'm mad because so-and-so did such-and-such."  Or "mom, so-and-so did such-and-such."  Which -- we are so much better off for him to come tell me this than to ---- wind himself up to the point he is going to push/grab/etc.  Well -- if my husband says at this point "what was going on when that happened" he can't answer that in a way that will make sense -- he would probably just repeat the thing he already said.  If I ask in a way to get more details, then he can tell us everything that happened.  He is getting better on this, because he can say a little more of "what led up to it," but it won't be enough.  

Really he will say "what so-and-so did" without it making a lot of sense, because he doesn't really say what he was doing as well (he is usually also doing something pertinent) and then it doesn't make as much sense.  Sometimes we have to get both kids and ask them a series of questions.  The other kids can give a great "my side of the story" but Eli cannot, but he can say where he disagrees with what they say.  And then they can say "he's not mentioning that he did/said/agreed-to such-and-such."  

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2 minutes ago, PeterPan said:
25 minutes ago, Lecka said:

Thememaker looks way too advanced at this point.

Yeah, I was looking over the charts last night and got REALLY DISGRUNTLED IN MY EVER RUSHING SOUL to realize that moving up to abbreviated narratives doesn't get us anything new with expository. It just doesn't. And it doesn't matter that at 5th maybe they'd be doing some of those more advanced forms. Nope, we're still back with really basic descriptive, sequencing paragraphs. Even the compare/contrast, which fits with the N/N skill I wanted to work on, I need to look at again to see if it's considered in reach.

So all I was thinking then was ok, EMBRACE THE PACE. Like what does it really mean to do descriptive and sequential nonfiction writing at this point, have we embraced it fully, have we fleshed out as far as the things he's really developmentally ready to do can be done? I think that's my challenge. Because this past year our nonfiction writing was really crappy basic. I mean really crappy basic.

So maybe what it's saying with the charts and timetable is don't move forward, flesh it out, improve the quality of the details. And, fwiw the picture I have in my mind is the writing samples they gave me as reports the 4th graders do at our ps. I think those could actually be *goals* for us now. So writing a 2-4 page report on a topic would be the fleshed out, kicked up, developmentally appropriate thing he's ready to do. It's why I really think it's time to adjust his IEP grade, because leaving it too high is misleading workers who try to work with him, etc.

I added some more there, lol.

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6 hours ago, PeterPan said:

The other thing that shows is when they're saying emotion following a kick-off, they're talking something possibly more complex than hot/cold, sad/happy. How the person felt about it involves some inferences and perspective taking complexity.

 

If we are reading a book, he can do this with story books and he is listening to chapter books now as hard as A-Z Mysteries.  So -- pretty straightforward and simple, but it's a huge step for him to follow along with few pictures.  

He usually gets inferences (because at this level they are still on the obvious side!!!!!  I doubt he would notice inferences in the next level up of books), and a lot of the time he gets perspective taking kinds of things, if there is some interplay between characters and they don't have the same opinion about what is happening.  I think this translates a little bit into real life with seeing a sibling's perspective, but it is easier for him to see this in a book than in his own life.  But I think it helps because then he can have it explained to him (most of the time) in real life.  

He does not have a huge range of emotions he will say for characters, but he does say "jealous" and "nervous."  He might say so-and-so is mean, so-and-so is a bad guy, so-and-so is a bully.  He will say "scared" as a reason for a character to do something.  He will make comments for these that are very appropriate, and respond to "why" questions for these and be very appropriate.  Like -- he does this great.  He does *really good* single sentences.  

He does make comments like "he doesn't know that...." if there's something where a character doesn't know something that we know as readers or that other characters know.  He can answer why questions where answering "why does he think that" would involve saying "he doesn't know that...."  

 

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2 minutes ago, Lecka said:

I do think that is cute 🙂 

See I think it's SO IMPORTANT to like our kids with autism. They can be kind of a pain in the butt and it messes with parents' heads. So it's so good just to enjoy them, so right.

It sounds like his language is a little stiff. He has a lot of memorized forms. I think he just is where he is, kwim? But you know, if that's formative, if they're doing the syntax work, then maybe put your emphasis on OTHER stuff? You don't need that syntax to do the things you're trying to do with him.

And yes, it sounds like they've worked really hard on learning structures that allow him to use his language to self-advocate. Is he nailing the previous stages and ready to move to abbreviated? Until you're moving into abbreviated, technically he doesn't need to be working on the CTT, right? I could go look at the charts. I got up early for some mystifying reason and am not fully powered yet, lol. The school is helping a lot, seeding that language and building it.

6 minutes ago, Lecka said:

He isn't distracted exactly, but he will say things like "I'm done" and "that's all I'm going to say." 

It seems like language is very hard for him. At the end of the day, it's hard. And that's what I meant by the stage is going to look like what it looks like for him. I think use your gut on that to know whether he's doing a stage in the way you want to see that fits him. With my ds, the blossoming was obvious. I think my ds has a very high window on where his language could go, so for him there's a big progression from the incredibly simplistic place we started a year ago to what we're getting now. And I think writing a 2-4 page report is actually in reach for my ds. Ok, it's a huge stretch and would require tons of time and instruction, lol. But it's a blow your mind, actually in reach project now. 

But I think just have him doing the stage till it looks like it fits him and clicks and is a useful tool in the way you think it ought to look for him.

There's a concept we/they talk about in photography, where the photographer edits, the photographer culls the images. And the reason is *the photographer is being paid for her professional opinion.* And my two cents is that if you're using professional materials and you're doing this work, you're entitled to a professional opinion and should exercise it. 

So when I say think about what that stage looks like for him and use your gut on when it has matured in quality of the details and he's ready to move on, that's your professional opinion.

11 minutes ago, Lecka said:

Well -- if my husband says at this point "what was going on when that happened" he can't answer that in a way that will make sense -- he would probably just repeat the thing he already said.  If I ask in a way to get more details, then he can tell us everything that happened.  He is getting better on this, because he can say a little more of "what led up to it," but it won't be enough.  

Think about what you're saying there. It sounds like you're saying his ability to kick out descriptive and reactive narratives hasn't fully developed to keep up with this incredible new language. Or look at the abbreviated sequence and see if guiding him into that would solve it. I'm just new at wrapping my brain around it, so I don't know. But would an abbreviated sequence work? It kind of fascinates me, because apparently this is a known, normal developmental stage. It's set-up, kick-off, my feelings, and then almost drop the ball, haha. And I've been laughing trying to think of when we hear people or kids doing that.

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14 minutes ago, Lecka said:

Really he will say "what so-and-so did" without it making a lot of sense, because he doesn't really say what he was doing as well (he is usually also doing something pertinent) and then it doesn't make as much sense.  Sometimes we have to get both kids and ask them a series of questions.  The other kids can give a great "my side of the story" but Eli cannot, but he can say where he disagrees with what they say.  And then they can say "he's not mentioning that he did/said/agreed-to such-and-such."  

The behaviorist was pointing out to me recently that a LOT of skills get learned in these sibling fights that ds doesn't have. 

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5 minutes ago, Lecka said:

He does not have a huge range of emotions he will say for characters, but he does say "jealous" and "nervous."

I read a study on ability to express emotional nuance of people in jail. So I think a lot of nice people will get a long way with just whatever skills they've got, but for my ds unfortunately (with the high IQ, high frustration level, highly prone to behaviors), I've got to nurture serious emotional nuance. It's literally my how do I keep you out of jail goal.

But I think use your professional opinion on how much emotional nuance would help unpack for him the dynamics at this stage (abbreviated stage) of narrative. And I would think that's something he may continue to grow in over a LONG TIME.

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I am looking at it and I'm not sure...... I think he might be through abbreviated and into complete episode, because I think they "count" it with prompts.  I think I really need to try again, more, harder with different prompts/scaffolds.  What I am doing is good, but I think it's worth it to try to add more this way.  But I'm not sure that for the stage, they require it to be an independent level.  

I'm not sure about this, because, I thought at first, this would be with an independent sample.  But now I think it's with prompts.  I'm not sure, I am planning to look at it more today or in the next couple of days.  

I think from what I was looking at  yesterday..... even though they are all connected, to some extent, I have been working on reading (listening) comprehension and seeing improvement in that, but it's not just magically transferring to "production."  I think it is transferring some!  And I think they do "production" (saying stuff) at school, so I think he is getting that some.  But I think I could try to focus more on him talking.  But it's hard to do when he is not that interested in doing it with me.  He is happy to listen to a book and make comments or answer a few questions or listen to me make comments.  That is something that goes well.  

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May I jump in with a question? My 11 dd was just diagnosed with asd and it's making so many things click with her but I can't figure out where I am with narrative language. She has this mixed ability, and I need to think through what level she's realistically on, but when she's just telling us a story, it's usually confusing and requires multiple questions to get a sense of what she's talking about -- lots of disorganized language. But if she comes to us to explain why her younger brother is crying, she'll give us these painfully organized, detailed sentences telling us the specific action sequence as if she is repeating memorized scenes from a script, including all the characters, where they were, and who said what in what order, etc. We have to stop her and ask for a bottom line, just to know if the issue is pressing (he's hurt) and we need to go now, or if it's ok and he's just upset. So it seems like a really mixed level to me based on situation?

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8 minutes ago, PeterPan said:

The behaviorist was pointing out to me recently that a LOT of skills get learned in these sibling fights that ds doesn't have. 

 

I think this is so true.  When he was younger, I got a lot of comments about him being good about sharing, people being impressed with his sharing, but it was pretty nasty at home for me.  We also had horrible, horrible times when everyone had a cookie or something, and he ate his really fast, and my daughter would eat hers really slowly, and then he would want to have hers.  Just -- ugh.  

My other kids too will call me out if they think I am giving in to him on something, and sometimes they are right about it.  

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7 minutes ago, Lecka said:

I think he might be through abbreviated and into complete episode, because I think they "count" it with prompts.  I think I really need to try again, more, harder with different prompts/scaffolds.  What I am doing is good, but I think it's worth it to try to add more this way.  But I'm not sure that for the stage, they require it to be an independent level.  

I say exercise your professional opinion. It *seems* like he's doing a lot with prompts but is getting less out fluidly, independently. I just sorta assumed that was your goal. But you're the one in charge so use your judgment. I also think it's fair game to push skill level forward into higher stages but work at generalization and quality of details in the lower level. That's your call, your judgment.

8 minutes ago, Lecka said:

I'm not sure about this, because, I thought at first, this would be with an independent sample.  But now I think it's with prompts.  I'm not sure, I am planning to look at it more today or in the next couple of days.  

I'm sure you'll find in the manual what they say. I think there's also your professional judgment and what you think serves him best. For my ds, I've decided to hone in, dig deep, tread water, stall, and that's my opinion. And the reason I did it is because my ds has such a high ceiling of potential for language that I felt I would not get him to the level of language output he should have for that stage if I moved forward. That's my take for my ds. But if I had a different kid, different scenario, I could imagine a totally different answer. 

I think as long as you make an intentional, informed choice, it doesn't really matter. Seriously. It's really specific to him. Think about it, you have Moreau saying dig in and you have the Gillams saying no plow forward fearlessly. That tells me some kids are better served one way or another and we should use our professional judgment as to what approach is best for our kid.

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Mamashark -- I saw your post, I don't have anything really helpful to say.  I think for the stories she tells, using some kind of organizer (which, the Mindwings stuff is a kind of organizer) can help.  For the things with her sibling, she might be stressed and that can make it harder to know what to say.  

Something to be aware of -- for how hard something is, it's usually harder to say something that wasn't seen, that was just talked about.  Being able to see something makes it more concrete.  And then the more recently something has happened, it will also be easier to remember and describe.  

That could be a factor with her stories, if they are about something that happened longer ago.  

But it's hard to say, kids are so different.  

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11 minutes ago, Lecka said:

But I think I could try to focus more on him talking.  But it's hard to do when he is not that interested in doing it with me. 

This is just interesting to me. We're heavy heavy talkers here. Correction, I'm a heavy talker and dh is like profanity profanity why are you always pushing the kid to talk, why are you demanding language, blah blah, you're mean, etc. 

I think you can have good professional judgment on what is a good amount for him, what is engaged, what is useful, what gives him pleasure, what helps him feel connected. There are so many ways of relating besides language. My ds has *grown* and my ds doesn't appreciate my efforts to compel him to talk. I think I may have finally someone to continue PROMPT with him. I'm clearly obsessive on it, lol. But of a truth, I have operated on the assumption or thesis that if my ds had the language and could get it out, that he has gifted level things to get out. Ie. that he's not happy and relating completely as he should, at the level his brain wants to think at, in the way he wants to do, if I'm not pushing THAT HARD. 

But would I push like that on another kid? I think use your judgment about what fits him, what makes his life good, how well he's expressing what he's thinking about and what's important to him. I think in hard cases you have a vision, set goals, and you're the one deciding that.

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17 minutes ago, Lecka said:

He is happy to listen to a book and make comments or answer a few questions or listen to me make comments.  That is something that goes well.  

So what I did was make demands of 1-3 sentences after a chapter. So we're making mini whatever stage narrations after every chapter. 

I don't know that that's an appropriate demand for your ds. But you might have to push the envelope a bit to get that practice that builds proficiency over time, sure.

I'm not necessarily a nice person with my ds. It's a hard line to walk, because I'm making him do hard things, over and over, he doesn't want to do. And maybe that's not where you want to be, kwim? They can pull that off in school. It's a dynamic and a cost scenario I've chosen, but it's not really a nice thing. It's not like he's just oh yeah I'll do that, lol. I'm making DEMANDS.

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                                            The One Year Bible for Children (Tyndale Kids)                                     

I'm reading this with him right now. It has a short, single page story and then a few questions, and I typically ask him questions from sections 1 and 2, skipping 3 (the more vague, less concrete comments like what is God asking you to do, go do it, haha). 

This is not something I would have done with him a year ago, so I'm with you that the it's all working together, comprehension and expression. He still is not overjoyed to give full sentence answers. I think it's that it's actually REALLY HARD to follow the narrative and then put it into your own words. It's worth it, but it's hard. Which is why it's a language disability, sigh. So sometimes he volunteers beautiful sentences and sometimes he's just jack rabbit short. To me it's telling me how hard it is. 

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7 minutes ago, Lecka said:

Mamashark -- I saw your post, I don't have anything really helpful to say.  I think for the stories she tells, using some kind of organizer (which, the Mindwings stuff is a kind of organizer) can help.  For the things with her sibling, she might be stressed and that can make it harder to know what to say.  

Something to be aware of -- for how hard something is, it's usually harder to say something that wasn't seen, that was just talked about.  Being able to see something makes it more concrete.  And then the more recently something has happened, it will also be easier to remember and describe.  

That could be a factor with her stories, if they are about something that happened longer ago.  

But it's hard to say, kids are so different.  

usually the narratives that are like scripts are when she expects to be in trouble. Anything else (even other what just happened or something I just read type stories) are disorganized. So emotion plays into it, but I wonder too, if she's maybe missing the connectors- cause and effect, or why she might be in trouble, and so she's replaying everything like a movie in her head. I do know that she is clueless when a sibling gets upset with her. She never knows why she upsets people and feels like a failure when as the oldest, she's the only one who can't "play right". So theory of the mind is a real weakness that we are trying to work on. 

I suppose it's like her disorganized narratives are her trying to pick what we will want to hear, (an attempt at main points/organizing a narration?) and her scripted/over-detailed narratives are when she is upset, afraid, and wants us to have every single detail to know how to best handle the situation, rather than attempt to filter the important stuff and get that wrong.

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5 minutes ago, PeterPan said:

I say exercise your professional opinion. It *seems* like he's doing a lot with prompts but is getting less out fluidly, independently. I just sorta assumed that was your goal. But you're the one in charge so use your judgment. I also think it's fair game to push skill level forward into higher stages but work at generalization and quality of details in the lower level. That's your call, your judgment.

 

It's mainly if I think I would get the next CTT book.  

I think with him, too, that he benefits from knowing more about what is going on around him, which he gets when he is aware of more.  I think that benefits him even if he is not saying as much.  

It goes into things like -- movies we can watch as a family.  It is HUGE for us to be able to watch movies together.  

This used to be something where I would take him out of the house to a playground while my husband and other kids watched a movie, because he would get bored/mad if he wasn't following along with what was going on.  

I think it's really crucial language for self-advocacy, too.  Because ------ here is what I see with self-advocacy given that he does not necessarily say a lot.  He is the opposite of the kid who says a lot of things and then people wade through it and figure out how it fits together.  He is just -- the opposite of that.  He doesn't say too much.  So ------ if he says "here's why I'm mad," that's really powerful and it's really direct that ----- he is saying there's a problem.  It's not the end product, but it is a good place for self-advocacy.  And I do think it would help him to do better with that by itself.  And then hopefully also, to take other people's perspective more than he currently does.  

And that all seems like it's a step he could be working on.  

But at the same time, I would also like him to be able to give a clearer retell.  I would like that.  But it is seeming a little too hard right now, so I think we can keep working on it some but try something new, too.  We would still work on it.  I think I have been too hung up on it, though.  

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2 minutes ago, mamashark said:

I suppose it's like her disorganized narratives are her trying to pick what we will want to hear, (an attempt at main points/organizing a narration?) and her scripted/over-detailed narratives are when she is upset, afraid, and wants us to have every single detail to know how to best handle the situation, rather than attempt to filter the important stuff and get that wrong.

 

This makes sense.  

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21 minutes ago, mamashark said:

May I jump in with a question? My 11 dd was just diagnosed with asd and it's making so many things click with her but I can't figure out where I am with narrative language. She has this mixed ability, and I need to think through what level she's realistically on, but when she's just telling us a story, it's usually confusing and requires multiple questions to get a sense of what she's talking about -- lots of disorganized language. But if she comes to us to explain why her younger brother is crying, she'll give us these painfully organized, detailed sentences telling us the specific action sequence as if she is repeating memorized scenes from a script, including all the characters, where they were, and who said what in what order, etc. We have to stop her and ask for a bottom line, just to know if the issue is pressing (he's hurt) and we need to go now, or if it's ok and he's just upset. So it seems like a really mixed level to me based on situation?

So thing one, you'd probably do well to go ahead and buy the MW ASD set. Two, feel free to call and talk with Moreau. She's lovely and might have some good advice. What you don't need for her will get used with the rest, so it's probably a good buy. And it will let you read everything and fill in the cracks. You could snag Thememaker as well if you want. Would not be overkill. Then get the mini magnet set and maybe the stamps.

So the rehearsing sounds pretty age-appropriate. She's probably nailing your descriptive and reactive stages. Did you look at the methodology page? It has the charts.

It sounds like her social thinking is part of the picture. It's not on her radar to notice how she feels, maybe she is overwhelmed, maybe it's hard to express, etc. She was marked with support level 2 and we expect significant support to be needed and for language to be affected. 

If you look at the chart, you're asking maybe for an abbreviated stage narrative. So that starts to show you what changed, that she was fine till she needed to use the Critical Thinking Triangle. But really, if she's not noticing that data (that he's hurt, etc.), then it's just not the most prominent thing. And she's got a lot of emotion going.

I think just get the set and take the plunge. You'll probably find stuff to work on. :)

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4 minutes ago, mamashark said:

So emotion plays into it, but I wonder too, if she's maybe missing the connectors- cause and effect, or why she might be in trouble, and so she's replaying everything like a movie in her head.

Yes to all of those. She's clearly stressed, she probably has issues with cause/effect, is probably anxious about whether she's going to get in trouble, and probably does rehearse it in her mind. 

On the plus side, ability to visualize is strong! Gives you something to work with. 

The nice thing about the MW ASD kit for you is they're weaving in Social Thinking concepts. There's a lot of learning curve to this, so many things you're trying to learn here. But you know, buy a tool, take a step, buy another tool and take another step.

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Realistically I cannot push past him saying "I'm done" or he will just quit.  

With math I can push him and he will buckle down a bit more and put in a bit more effort.  

But with this, I cannot.  

He does really well with "meaningful language" kinds of strategies, where he is telling me something he is interested in telling me (sometimes when I ask a question I pretend I don't know, or it's "I think this, what do you think?" and it's interesting to him).  I don't think I can go very far outside of that at all, or he will just stop.

It is already a pretty high demand for him to listen to a book, a lot of the time, depending on the book.

There are books he is interested in that are very demanding for him also, and then there's not a lot of spare thought left.  

He does say more with easier books and I made a point recently to go back to more easy books for that reason.

I had a goal for a while (a long time lol) for him to be able to listen to a book without many pictures, and be able to follow along.  I am really happy with where he is on that right now (which is A-Z Mysteries).  So I do think I am going back to go deeper at the prior levels now.

I do not feel like I'm anywhere near doing anything beyond A-Z Mysteries right now, though.  It will be a long time, I am sure.  

So I'm not expecting to move ahead too much, really.  

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6 minutes ago, mamashark said:

I suppose it's like her disorganized narratives are her trying to pick what we will want to hear, (an attempt at main points/organizing a narration?) and her scripted/over-detailed narratives are when she is upset, afraid, and wants us to have every single detail to know how to best handle the situation, rather than attempt to filter the important stuff and get that wrong.

I don't think when someone is anxious it's the best time to be doing instruction, lol.

What you might do is work on the narratives during other parts of the day and see if they start to improve in more stressful situations. 

Is she getting anything for anxiety or self-regulation? Working on her self-awareness, with check-ins, with Interoception work, is the best way to help her stay calm, realize more what she's seeing in other people, and be ready to self-advocate and express. If you're prioritizing which will be more pivotal, lowering anxiety or learning a new narrative stage, well... Kwim? It seems like her emotions, the need to self-regulate, etc. are actually more concerning here, in a way, than the exact contents of her narrative.

https://www.kelly-mahler.com/what-is-interoception/  

I'm not saying don't work on narrative, but look into some bodywork to get the calm you're wanting. Awareness, check-ins everyone being more aware of how they feel and how others feel. And then all that feeds into the levels of narrative you're wanting to see happening.

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2 minutes ago, PeterPan said:

Yes to all of those. She's clearly stressed, she probably has issues with cause/effect, is probably anxious about whether she's going to get in trouble, and probably does rehearse it in her mind. 

On the plus side, ability to visualize is strong! Gives you something to work with. 

The nice thing about the MW ASD kit for you is they're weaving in Social Thinking concepts. There's a lot of learning curve to this, so many things you're trying to learn here. But you know, buy a tool, take a step, buy another tool and take another step.

 

Thanks, looks like that's a good next step for her. 

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11 minutes ago, mamashark said:

usually the narratives that are like scripts are when she expects to be in trouble.

Yeah, if someone is stressed, we expect that kind of machine gun, rat a tat tat, kind of output. The cortisol levels are up really high. Do you practice any calming strategies together? Kelly Mahler has some really basic, easy to implement stuff like using an inexpensive pulse oximeter. You practice when calm and practice developing calming strategies, so then when she's elevated like that she REALIZES and can say so and make choices.

In reality, you're much more concerned about her being calm than you are about what happened. Maybe even just diffuse the tension by NOT asking for a narrative, by saying that's fine, you can take a calming break and I'll sort it out, kwim? 

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1 minute ago, PeterPan said:

If you're prioritizing which will be more pivotal, lowering anxiety or learning a new narrative stage, well... Kwim? It seems like her emotions, the need to self-regulate, etc. are actually more concerning here, in a way, than the exact contents of her narrative.

That's exactly where we are - we are working through the interoceptive curriculum and actually it was for anxiety and self-regulation that we ended up at the right office to have someone see the autism and evaluate for it. So those are our priorities, for sure. I was just thinking about narrative language as I processed the strengths and weaknesses and realizing how much her speech (communication) is impacted by narration rather than necessarily a speech delay (which she didn't have as a child - although she lost language between 15-18 months... her first words disappeared and then she gained new language a few months later so no one took it seriously.)

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1 minute ago, mamashark said:

That's exactly where we are - we are working through the interoceptive curriculum and actually it was for anxiety and self-regulation that we ended up at the right office to have someone see the autism and evaluate for it. So those are our priorities, for sure. I was just thinking about narrative language as I processed the strengths and weaknesses and realizing how much her speech (communication) is impacted by narration rather than necessarily a speech delay (which she didn't have as a child - although she lost language between 15-18 months... her first words disappeared and then she gained new language a few months later so no one took it seriously.)

Wow, boo on the practitioners for not listening to you at the time!!! And did you run her through the upper level Rothstein 100% Vocabulary or even the lower level to see what happens? Just kind of as a check, kwim?

So yes, that's what I'm realizing myself these days, that the interoceptive work and that stage 2 (your feelings) and stage 3 (others' feelings) connects with narratives.

I think just buy the ASD kit, Thememaker (to read ahead, because you'll have the questions), and the magnet set and stamps. I don't think you can go wrong with that. And then you can tell me how to do emotions for narratives better, hahaha.

https://mindwingconcepts.com/pages/methodology  Just making sure, have you seen this? And have you watched videos from their youtube? TONS of excellent training there for you, all free.

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10 minutes ago, mamashark said:

(communication) is impacted by narration rather than necessarily a speech delay

So the way it is being explained to me by people, we EXPECT language issues with ASD2. It's a discriminating factor in what pushes up the support level. So narrative, whatever aspect, but yeah we expect the issues to be there. It means you're CORRECT in digging in, because the language issues are probably there.

So if you want some help on this, you could find an SLP who specializes in reading or autism. Not all will do this more advanced testing like narrative assessment, but some will. You'd just keep calling around till you found someone. Or you can buy the TNL yourself btw. I'm not saying you should, just that you can. Or at least I think you can? Some of them have schedules and who can buy them.

But yeah, seeking out help is not all bad. My two cents, and this is just my two cents, is that there's enough work that COULD be done, that if you can find someone who is actually GOOD at any of it, like they kick butt at narrative or conversation or pragmatics or anything, let them do it. There's enough work here to spread the love and the load. If you can get funding, don't feel compelled to do it all yourself. I have a state disability scholarship, and I HIRE any time I find someone who can do what I want. I also drive an insane amount for that because we're in the big city like 3 days a week this year, sigh. I literally had to replace my car to keep going, sigh. Crazy stuff.

Anyways, yeah, it's worth some time to call around. You might hit walls or you might find a gem. She's diagnosed ASD2, you think you have narrative language and pragmatics issues, maybe more, what testing do they do for narrative language, do they do that intervention, what do they use, blah blah. 

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6 hours ago, mamashark said:

May I jump in with a question? My 11 dd was just diagnosed with asd and it's making so many things click with her but I can't figure out where I am with narrative language. She has this mixed ability, and I need to think through what level she's realistically on, but when she's just telling us a story, it's usually confusing and requires multiple questions to get a sense of what she's talking about -- lots of disorganized language. But if she comes to us to explain why her younger brother is crying, she'll give us these painfully organized, detailed sentences telling us the specific action sequence as if she is repeating memorized scenes from a script, including all the characters, where they were, and who said what in what order, etc. We have to stop her and ask for a bottom line, just to know if the issue is pressing (he's hurt) and we need to go now, or if it's ok and he's just upset. So it seems like a really mixed level to me based on situation?

DS15 has not had narrative language testing, but he's definitely not typical with his descriptions, and he is better at it in some scenarios than others. He has had years of pragmatic language speech therapy at school. His ability also varies in his writing. He is much better at telling a personal narrative or creating a fictional story than he is at anything expository. I would predict that narrative language testing would show some areas where he is stronger, and some areas where he has holes and weaknesses. I think this can be common with ASD.

Even though your two examples feature different situations, I see a possible connection between the two. Perhaps she is having trouble with main idea versus details. When she is retelling a story, she seems to be presenting details without relating the main idea or the things that connect the details together, so that they makes sense. When she is relating a real-life problem, she is listing out all of the details about what happened, but not presenting the main idea or issue that actually needs attention.

We've been dealing with a situation this week with DS15, during which it has been important for us to have him explain to us what has been going on with interactions at school (bullying UGH). The communication has been interesting. At some times, it's been clear that there are things in his mind that we would like to hear, but he is doling it out in tiny bits. As if his ability to express himself is like a tube of toothpaste with a tiny hole for the toothpaste to come out; I know it's in there, but it's coming out only in tiny bits over a longer period of time. And then there have been other moments, when he has had a lot to say and has expressed himself very well. And there have been a lot of moments where we have had to prompt him with many questions, which he sometimes finds irritating, and he complains, "You just don't get it."

DS15 also speaks differently to different people. Sometimes he talks quite a lot. Sometimes he clams up and says almost nothing. I think there are a lot of factors that contribute to this, and that his spiky narrative language plays a part in the difficulties.

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I did look through the manual, I think we can have some things from Stage 4 and some things from Stage 5, and have that be fine.  

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3 hours ago, Lecka said:

 

I don't think so.  Thememaker looks way too advanced at this point.  I'm probably going to get the second Critical Thinking Triangle book sometime fairly soon, though.  

 

I am thinking about this.  I think it could be indistinct as far as -- him actually organizing all his thoughts.  I think that is probably true.  But I think in a "needs more time and practice" way?  

I agree--I am just referring to the charts that talk about language development. I keep hoping they are in another product because they are really good charts that break down all the areas of language in each of the six strands. Sometimes an area of language is in more than one strand or a different facet is shown in more than one strand.

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48 minutes ago, Storygirl said:

Perhaps she is having trouble with main idea versus details. When she is retelling a story, she seems to be presenting details without relating the main idea or the things that connect the details together, so that they makes sense. When she is relating a real-life problem, she is listing out all of the details about what happened, but not presenting the main idea or issue that actually needs attention.

yes I can see how this makes sense. 

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My goodness!  What I just got....

Me:  "How do you think he feels?"

My son:  "Cool."

Me:  "How else do you think he feels?"

My son:  "Like he's invincible."

We are watching Antman and the Wasp, and the friend got to drive a purple sports car and be in a car chase.  

So that surprised me, I have not heard him say "invincible" before I don't think, but -- he really does do pretty well for these sentences, when he is answering a question.  

He is like this too, where he will say something a lot better if he is really interested or watching a movie he likes.  

But then -- I see recommendations to pause and discuss for movies, but he would not like it if I paused, and it's not really worth it enough for me to pause.  

 

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3 hours ago, Lecka said:

I think it's more not realizing how much detail to share to provide us with the information we need.  Like -- theory of mind to know what to tell his audience.  But I think it's also just -- getting into there being more sentences for him to say than he really says at the same time.  Sometimes he does say more, too, but this is common.  

Really he will say "what so-and-so did" without it making a lot of sense, because he doesn't really say what he was doing as well (he is usually also doing something pertinent) and then it doesn't make as much sense.  Sometimes we have to get both kids and ask them a series of questions.  The other kids can give a great "my side of the story" but Eli cannot, but he can say where he disagrees with what they say.  And then they can say "he's not mentioning that he did/said/agreed-to such-and-such."  

I think I lump theory of mind and POV together sometimes--they are different but interconnected. I think that makes sense that it's theory of mind. It also sounds like it's just really, really hard. The more I read in this thread, I am thinking, This is so hard for him that it has to be prompted, but he's truly getting out good stuff that is important. He's not just talking to be heard; he's talking to communicate. Considering I have one that often is just talking to be heard (especially if he's tired or meds have worn off), it's good that he's motivated to do that. 

The second paragraph suggests to me that he knows he might get into trouble and doesn't want to mention that, lol! Like, he knows he has a stronger case by leaving out information, etc. My DS still struggles to tell us the right things because he's really a rule follower. Usually. Unless something really huge comes up that makes him violate that impulsively. And he knows this and wants to be thought well of. It's like the low end of social skills meets the high end of social skills, they have a war, and the losing side is trying to make it look as "not bad" as possible. It sounds like he's trying to erase his lack of impulse control by telling the story the way he'd like it to happen. Maybe? I bet he understands more of their perspective than he can say, but he still has to make himself okay with what they want. I think this is a huge thing for kids with autism--regulating themselves through getting what they want vs. making themselves okay with not getting it. It just shows up more in social ways sometimes than for a kid without autism who might feel more pressure to conform but indulge what they want in a more socially acceptable way. @mamashark, it sounds like you have some of that going on as well.

3 hours ago, Lecka said:

 I think I really need to try again, more, harder with different prompts/scaffolds.  What I am doing is good, but I think it's worth it to try to add more this way.  

I think from what I was looking at  yesterday..... even though they are all connected, to some extent, I have been working on reading (listening) comprehension and seeing improvement in that, but it's not just magically transferring to "production."  I think it is transferring some!  And I think they do "production" (saying stuff) at school, so I think he is getting that some.  But I think I could try to focus more on him talking.  But it's hard to do when he is not that interested in doing it with me.  He is happy to listen to a book and make comments or answer a few questions or listen to me make comments.  That is something that goes well.  

I think that this might be exactly why the CTT book has been recommended. It externalizes this process to help with working memory. It also provides some scripts that replace the prompts. I think the book is intended to help smooth out the bumps so that the prompts fade, and it can be more seamless as a whole, and it's all about the working memory to get it out--I had totally forgotten that when I talked to the author, she mentioned working memory A LOT.

From comprehension to production is a big leap. I mean, mine didn't struggle with the comprehension to begin with, and he's STILL working on getting production out in all its forms. Our entire problem is production, big time. So, if your son needed to be taught explicit language structures and comprehension before production, wow. Wow that this is synchronized for him at all. That's a lot of working memory in a deficit area. It sounds like he's also latched onto what is important to get right. He's not using his language frivolously. 

3 hours ago, PeterPan said:

I also think it's fair game to push skill level forward into higher stages but work at generalization and quality of details in the lower level. That's your call, your judgment.

I think as long as you make an intentional, informed choice, it doesn't really matter. 

We are working on different skills at different levels. The Discourse and Thought Chart (the one with the wheel) is what our tutor is using to label this progression. So, he's doing some things at the Understanding level while we introduce things at other lower levels and push other skills up to higher levels. 

If you aren't frustrating him, and you think you can make it work, I agree with the above statements. It's definitely worth a try. 

3 hours ago, Lecka said:

I think with him, too, that he benefits from knowing more about what is going on around him, which he gets when he is aware of more.  I think that benefits him even if he is not saying as much.  

I think it's really crucial language for self-advocacy, too.  Because ------ here is what I see with self-advocacy given that he does not necessarily say a lot.  He is the opposite of the kid who says a lot of things and then people wade through it and figure out how it fits together.  He is just -- the opposite of that.  He doesn't say too much.  So ------ if he says "here's why I'm mad," that's really powerful and it's really direct that ----- he is saying there's a problem.  It's not the end product, but it is a good place for self-advocacy.  And I do think it would help him to do better with that by itself.  And then hopefully also, to take other people's perspective more than he currently does.  

And that all seems like it's a step he could be working on.  

But at the same time, I would also like him to be able to give a clearer retell.  I would like that.  But it is seeming a little too hard right now, so I think we can keep working on it some but try something new, too.  We would still work on it.  I think I have been too hung up on it, though.  

I agree. And I think the clearer retell could come over time and with memory supports/familiarity/maturity. 

2 hours ago, Lecka said:

He does really well with "meaningful language" kinds of strategies, where he is telling me something he is interested in telling me (sometimes when I ask a question I pretend I don't know, or it's "I think this, what do you think?" and it's interesting to him).  I don't think I can go very far outside of that at all, or he will just stop.

It is already a pretty high demand for him to listen to a book, a lot of the time, depending on the book.

There are books he is interested in that are very demanding for him also, and then there's not a lot of spare thought left.  

He does say more with easier books and I made a point recently to go back to more easy books for that reason.

 

So, latching onto the working memory thing that the author spoke to me about...do you provide ways to externalize the parts and pieces of the story? I'm thinking you might have to put in supports that he might've seemingly outgrown that would support working memory this time instead of comprehension? I know the icons do this to some extent, but even with the icons, there are graphic organizes for each icon or for subsets of icons--that's to help with working memory. I wonder if he could use a pictoral version of some of those graphic organizers. Like, if he's doing a series book, maybe he can have a paper puppet for each character that fits the description in the book, and then label it with a name. If kids with "more" language still need verbal organizers for the memory required to pull this all together, maybe he needs a visual of each of these organizers to keep track pictorally for working memory. 

So, in Making Connections, there are organizers for Taking Perspective. Maybe you can use a cutout for each main character and decorate it with the right hair colors, etc. as a character description, then label it with a name. I'm thinking maybe put some poster putty on them and rearrange them on a white board with the icon magnets for retells. So, you could prompt him through with questions, but as he answers, put the picture supports onto a white board. Then, maybe model the retell with those picture supports? 

You might already be doing all of this, but I'm just now making the connection with the working memory that the author discussed with me. I think my son had to deal with that working memory issue too, but all I could see was the language. 

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1 hour ago, Lecka said:

I don't think I have that in what I have.  It does sound good!  

Well, is it this:  https://mindwingconcepts.com/blogs/news/the-hidden-meaning-of-mindwing-s-icons

Yes and no. Those are the strands I am talking about. Thememaker has several pages where each of those strands is broken down into its own concept map with all the factors that make up each strand. When I saw it, I realized that someone should take that and update language tests to fit those concept maps--it was that powerful, and it truly showed holes in my son's language that the tests were skirting (aside from the TNL or TOPS).

So, she has a webinar on the CTT. If you get the book, the URL is in there. I think maybe she goes into some of those things on her webinar, but I can't remember.

I have tried to find those organizers on her website before and can't find them. 

Edited by kbutton
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2 hours ago, Storygirl said:

DS15 has not had narrative language testing, but he's definitely not typical with his descriptions, and he is better at it in some scenarios than others. He has had years of pragmatic language speech therapy at school. His ability also varies in his writing. He is much better at telling a personal narrative or creating a fictional story than he is at anything expository. I would predict that narrative language testing would show some areas where he is stronger, and some areas where he has holes and weaknesses. I think this can be common with ASD.

Even though your two examples feature different situations, I see a possible connection between the two. Perhaps she is having trouble with main idea versus details. When she is retelling a story, she seems to be presenting details without relating the main idea or the things that connect the details together, so that they makes sense. When she is relating a real-life problem, she is listing out all of the details about what happened, but not presenting the main idea or issue that actually needs attention.

We've been dealing with a situation this week with DS15, during which it has been important for us to have him explain to us what has been going on with interactions at school (bullying UGH). The communication has been interesting. At some times, it's been clear that there are things in his mind that we would like to hear, but he is doling it out in tiny bits. As if his ability to express himself is like a tube of toothpaste with a tiny hole for the toothpaste to come out; I know it's in there, but it's coming out only in tiny bits over a longer period of time. And then there have been other moments, when he has had a lot to say and has expressed himself very well. And there have been a lot of moments where we have had to prompt him with many questions, which he sometimes finds irritating, and he would complain, "You just don't get it."

DS15 also speaks differently to different people. Sometimes he talks quite a lot. Sometimes he clams up and says almost nothing. I think there are a lot of factors that contribute to this, and that his spiky narrative language plays a part in the difficulties.

@mamashark, I agree on the bolded, but I would also note that she might have trouble with scaling the size of a narrative. It's like the other side of the coin from being able to tell relevant details. Or maybe a generalization of that skill. So, having the ability to stay on topic (not too broad, not too narrow) for any size of assignment from a one-sentence summary to a dissertation. It includes being able to expound on something and stay on topic as well as shrink wrap information and stay on topic. This is super hard. I know as a student, I couldn't do that particularly well until I learned how to do an audience analysis in college as part of a tech writing program. It's also why I like tech writing or even writing to solve a problem, but asking me to do some kind of writing with an undefined audience or purpose is like asking me to jump off a cliff, lol! And a lot of academic writing is this way--I have to make up some kind of hypothetical audience and purpose to get through this kind of task, something that no one told me it was okay to do when I was in school. 

Storygirl, I bet those charts about the strands of language would look really scattershot for your son if you circled what he could do! I am so sorry the communication has been difficult around the bullying issue, but I hope it can work out to be something you are able to use to advocate for him over time.

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2 hours ago, kbutton said:

The more I read in this thread, I am thinking, This is so hard for him that it has to be prompted, but he's truly getting out good stuff that is important. He's not just talking to be heard; he's talking to communicate. Considering I have one that often is just talking to be heard (especially if he's tired or meds have worn off), it's good that he's motivated to do that. 

 

I have had comments before like -- they have another client who talks a lot, easily, but is frequently not on topic, and Eli they have to try and try for him to speak, but he is almost always on topic when he does.  Could they meld the two kids together?  They are joking and not disclosing any personal information, but I they have whiplash going between kids sometimes!  And from talking to other parents sometimes, I am going "your kid talks and talks, isn't it amazing," and they are going "your child gave an on-topic response, isn't it amazing," and don't see it's difficultu either way.  

2 hours ago, kbutton said:

The second paragraph suggests to me that he knows he might get into trouble and doesn't want to mention that, lol! Like, he knows he has a stronger case by leaving out information, etc. My DS still struggles to tell us the right things because he's really a rule follower. Usually. Unless something really huge comes up that makes him violate that impulsively. And he knows this and wants to be thought well of. It's like the low end of social skills meets the high end of social skills, they have a war, and the losing side is trying to make it look as "not bad" as possible. It sounds like he's trying to erase his lack of impulse control by telling the story the way he'd like it to happen. Maybe? I bet he understands more of their perspective than he can say, but he still has to make himself okay with what they want. I think this is a huge thing for kids with autism--regulating themselves through getting what they want vs. making themselves okay with not getting it. It just shows up more in social ways sometimes than for a kid without autism who might feel more pressure to conform but indulge what they want in a more socially acceptable way. @mamashark, it sounds like you have some of that going on as well.

 

I hadn't thought of this.  I will keep my eye out, lol.  My husband is better at catching on to things like this, thank goodness!  

2 hours ago, kbutton said:

I think that this might be exactly why the CTT book has been recommended. It externalizes this process to help with working memory. It also provides some scripts that replace the prompts. I think the book is intended to help smooth out the bumps so that the prompts fade, and it can be more seamless as a whole, and it's all about the working memory to get it out--I had totally forgotten that when I talked to the author, she mentioned working memory A LOT.

From comprehension to production is a big leap. I mean, mine didn't struggle with the comprehension to begin with, and he's STILL working on getting production out in all its forms. Our entire problem is production, big time. So, if your son needed to be taught explicit language structures and comprehension before production, wow. Wow that this is synchronized for him at all. That's a lot of working memory in a deficit area. It sounds like he's also latched onto what is important to get right. He's not using his language frivolously. 

 

Thanks, and good to know.  I think ideally language structure, comprehension, and production are all taught at the same time, but it is hard when production is hard.  At this point I think it's more that he needs some solid level of comprehension to support his production!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  

2 hours ago, kbutton said:

So, latching onto the working memory thing that the author spoke to me about...do you provide ways to externalize the parts and pieces of the story? I'm thinking you might have to put in supports that he might've seemingly outgrown that would support working memory this time instead of comprehension? I know the icons do this to some extent, but even with the icons, there are graphic organizes for each icon or for subsets of icons--that's to help with working memory. I wonder if he could use a pictoral version of some of those graphic organizers. Like, if he's doing a series book, maybe he can have a paper puppet for each character that fits the description in the book, and then label it with a name. If kids with "more" language still need verbal organizers for the memory required to pull this all together, maybe he needs a visual of each of these organizers to keep track pictorally for working memory. 

So, in Making Connections, there are organizers for Taking Perspective. Maybe you can use a cutout for each main character and decorate it with the right hair colors, etc. as a character description, then label it with a name. I'm thinking maybe put some poster putty on them and rearrange them on a white board with the icon magnets for retells. So, you could prompt him through with questions, but as he answers, put the picture supports onto a white board. Then, maybe model the retell with those picture supports? 

You might already be doing all of this, but I'm just now making the connection with the working memory that the author discussed with me. I think my son had to deal with that working memory issue too, but all I could see was the language. 

I am not doing this and it is hard for me to actually do.  I have had good intentions to do it several times and  just not quite followed through and done it.  I have the student SGM, and the Book 1 autism that has the explanations, sitting in my living room with my library books, and I just haven't done much with actually doing it.  I will plan to do it, and then somehow not actually do it.  I know he has been taught at least generic story grammar elements at school.  I know he has done related graphic organizers at school.  I am having a hard time making this happen.  But I also will think -- whatever I do at home is helpful, even if maybe somebody else helps him tie things together more in the future.  And then too, maybe it will get easier as he gets older.  That has happened with other things for sure.  When I try I feel like he is really impatient with it and I am not holding his attention.  Right now I can have a vibe with him for math where it's like -- I'm teaching you a lesson, you need to pay attention.  I can do that for a very short lesson.  Or -- we ARE going to do a math-related activity.  I have not been able to do this for that long, probably a year or two, but I can do that now.  Not that it goes super smoothly -- but it happens.  For reading I don't have anything with him like "now I'm going to do a lesson, and you pay attention."  We have that I read, and he will answer some questions here and there, and he likes to make some comments.  

I am just thinking of this now, but it might work if I rent him a movie he wants on a condition that we try to use SGM with it.  That is the kind of thing that might go well.  

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Mamashark -- Just if it's helpful, main idea/detail graphic organizers exist, and I think they are a suggestion for working on main idea/detail.  Just if it's helpful 😉

https://www.google.com/search?rlz=1C1CHBF_enUS817US817&q=main+idea+detail+graphic+organizer&tbm=isch&source=univ&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiH_Lv8wtjkAhWPSxUIHQQtCswQsAR6BAgGEAE&biw=1920&bih=969

 

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39 minutes ago, Lecka said:

I am not doing this and it is hard for me to actually do.  I have had good intentions to do it several times and  just not quite followed through and done it.  I have the student SGM, and the Book 1 autism that has the explanations, sitting in my living room with my library books, and I just haven't done much with actually doing it.  I will plan to do it, and then somehow not actually do it. 

I have the luxury of being able to just generate ideas when we talk, and the tutor is actually doing the work, so don't feel any guilt! Lol! 

This discussion is pulling things together for me that I wasn't connecting before, especially about the working memory. Like, I know it, but it just seems like a scapegoat. But yet it's really crucial for pulling things together. Yes, they won't come without language, but once the language is there, the working memory is really important. So, this is helping me a lot to discuss all of these ideas.

You will figure out ways to use things or to advocate for him to get these things elsewhere--it probably feels hard because it's hard to translate theory into reality, and no one wants to just dive into that, KWIM? And you want to keep things with him positive, which is your job too!

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Well part of the reason we have quit after-school therapy is he was not doing too hot with high-language-output tasks, and that is what I wanted them to be doing.  Other things he would do great, but then they aren't really goals to an extent.  It's not the only reason but it is a part of it.  

The last I heard he does do better in a school setting because the expectations are clear, and at school he prides himself a lot on doing things in a good way.  A lot of the time, at least.  He doesn't do it as much lately, but he has had times where he likes to tell me about so-and-so who did something they weren't supposed to do, but he didn't do it.  

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I'm trying to read through the Gillam pdf Lecka posted. I had seen their page with "story element soup" where they montage symbols from some other systems (SGM, Story Champs, etc.), and I wondered what they were saying in person in the workshops that they weren't willing to put in print... 

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