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Old 01-25-2007, 04:07 PM   #1
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autistic son can't answer questions

I haven't posted in a quite a while. My 4 year old son Josh, has been doing so well we have been so hopeful. He does so many things that are "normal" like pretending he is talking on the phone or grabbing my purse and running but looking back to make sure I am chasing him... he finally began to speak right before last summer began, and still needs much speech therapy there, but it is nice of course to finally hear him even it is usually babble... but what I am worried about is that he can't answer questions. Such as "What did you do at school today?" and he will just say school, or if you ask "What is your teachers name?" (he will just repeat the last word of the sentence) he will say name. He is so smart. He has taught himself the computer, says his abc's and counts, all of that, but why can't he answer questions?

 
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Old 01-25-2007, 04:54 PM   #2
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iyami HB User
Re: autistic son can't answer questions

i have aspergers, and im 17, and i Still have rouble answering questions

ive gotten ebtter as i grew i think
but the problem is "finding words" to express what you mean

names are Very hard for me to remeber, when you ask about a persons name, i dont think their name, i think a picture of their face, hair, cloths, etc.

when people ask MY name, i always kind of stammer for a moment, and sometimes i wont even give them a name, i just smile and say "call me whatever you want, i really care"
part of the reason is that i answer to so many nicknames, and dont like my real name, i cant figure out how to answer such a tricky question.

anotehr answering abnormality for autistic people, you might end up saying something Completly differentthan what you ment, to you it makes sense, but the wording may entirley mislead someone else.

alot of times, if im tired or frustrated, or just cant find any words, i answer "i dont know"

and sometimes, i just echo, like your son is doing,
person :"whats your favourite type of tea?"
me : "tea." (translation, if tehre is one; "i like a few different kinds, but ill drink almost any")

or answer in a single word
friend : "wacha doing?"
me : "hair." (not doing my hair, but fidgiting or pulling it, to me that makes sense, to my friend, not so much.)


a good way to compare,
there was a girl in my french class at school, who was an exchange student from china
she had to translate everything from french, to english, to her own language
for us its the exact same thing
its not a matter of being lazy or dumb, like everyone here knows
its just hard to translate from english to concept to image and back again

as a side note, french is SO much easier than english for me, so is japanese, english is such a pain to try to speak/remember/learn, its so comlicated, grammer, pronunciation, context, i would swich to japanese or french if i didnt live in the US!

infact when i was 5, i got so fed up that i declared i would become an artist,and took up drawing. i thought if i cant name person or place or thing, i can draw it, even if i cant express how i feel about something (or someone) i can draw that too, it makes my boyfreind very happy when i draw things for him, then even if im not always effectionate, or say something wrong, he knows how i feel

my little brother and big brother who have aspergers Also found this to be true, me and my little brother draw together all the time

you could try that, if john cant tell me something, i just givehim a pencil and paper, he enjoys it.
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Please excuse any gramatical/spelling errors, I have a verbal disability.

Last edited by iyami; 01-25-2007 at 04:58 PM.

 
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Old 01-25-2007, 05:56 PM   #3
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Re: autistic son can't answer questions

you may want to start asking yes/no questions about his day. this worked very well with us when my son started speaking. "what did you do in school today?" to an autistic child may mean (in their mind) you want them to recap the ENTIRE day. my son found this question too much to answer. i would ask questions like......"Was Johnnie in school today?" Did you have fun playing at recess?" "Did anyone cry today?"

Eventually, he would expand on these questions all on his own. the "did anyone cry today?" questions was always where i would get the most information. my son would tell me who and why that person was crying and what the teacher said to them. we did an entire program on asking and answering questions with ABA.

 
Old 01-25-2007, 07:23 PM   #4
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9CatMom HB User
Re: autistic son can't answer questions

I have a hard time with questions too, especially if too many come at me all at once. I feel uncomfortable with people whose major form of conversation seems to be asking one question after another. I feel as though I'm going through an inquisition.

Iyami,

I found that Spanish was very easy for me to learn. It followed a very logical pattern.

 
Old 01-26-2007, 07:04 AM   #5
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Re: autistic son can't answer questions

My son is now 8yrs old and while he is doing very well with school, he also still struggles with answering "who, what, why, where" questions. His speech therapists, teachers, and our family have made a lot of progress on "who and where", but "what and why" are more abstract. This is quite common in autism and, just like many other aspects of it, we really don't know WHY. As MOM23ANGLES said, we also started with "yes/no" in the begining. At first we taught him how to answer specific questions. It all starts out very strange sounding- like memorized script. But eventually he would be able to tell us more and more. We had the same issue with responding to "hello". At first we would tell him what to say when someone said "hi". Now he is able to initiate those types of things spontaneously (though he still ignores most kids when they say hi, he does speak to and with most adults). Anyway keep at it. It does get better. I remember the echolalia being extremely frustrating during that time. But I always reminded myself that there were other autistic kids out there that never speak. Echolalia is a positive thing. I will never forget before he was verbal we were at a therapy office and another mom came in. She had a son who looked about 10 or 11 and he was standing there talking to himself but you could tell he was reciting script from TV or video. Right then I thought to myself "If my son could only do that, I'd be so happy to hear his voice." Well, several years later (and even now) he can recite just about anything he's heard several times (like the entire dialogue from any of his favorite videos). But it is still a positive- his memorization has helped him in a lot of school subjects, especially spelling, and he also loves to sing and draw (the drawing started as copying familiar logos, but has expanded to pictures of his favorite toys-Transformers at this time), even though his drawing style is WAY different than a typical kid. Sorry this was so long, but I always want to share how far we've come with mom's of younger kids because I didn't have anyone to give me any kind of idea what COULD be possible when we started out. Good Luck!

 
Old 01-26-2007, 07:19 AM   #6
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Re: autistic son can't answer questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dolceaura View Post
I haven't posted in a quite a while. My 4 year old son Josh, has been doing so well we have been so hopeful. He does so many things that are "normal" like pretending he is talking on the phone or grabbing my purse and running but looking back to make sure I am chasing him... he finally began to speak right before last summer began, and still needs much speech therapy there, but it is nice of course to finally hear him even it is usually babble... but what I am worried about is that he can't answer questions. Such as "What did you do at school today?" and he will just say school, or if you ask "What is your teachers name?" (he will just repeat the last word of the sentence) he will say name. He is so smart. He has taught himself the computer, says his abc's and counts, all of that, but why can't he answer questions?
Sounds just like my son at that age. My son has gotten better with answering some questions. I worried too like you. But it gets better.
My son is great on the computer and remembers passwords.
The ABC and Counting obsession has gone away.
It sounds like he is on the mild side. Is he potty trained?
Does he stim or line things up? My son never did that. Not sure why but I guess I'm glad in a way.

Oh and here are some questions he now answers:

How old are you? "I'm 5."
What is your name? "Kolby."
Did you have fun at school today? "Yes."
What did you do at school? (this is a tricky one at times) "I eat a snack."
LOL then I'll ask him how he is? "I'm 5."
So it is starting to get better and I think it will for you. Keep asking him questions even if he isn't giving you an answer. Give him some options.
"What did you do today? Did you play ball? Did you watch TV?"

Michelle (Kolby's Mom)
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Old 01-26-2007, 08:11 AM   #7
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Re: autistic son can't answer questions

Thank you all for your responses. I realize after reading these posts that I have probably not been asking the right questions! I will definitely try a different appraoch. Thank You so much! and to Michelle, to answer your question, he is not potty trained, we have tried but it seems better to just wait till he's ready and he used to line things up about a year ago but very rarely does it now, and he never did any type of stimming, thank God. He loves to play with other little children, he loves to hug and kiss and be loved. He loves to "read" books and have them read to him, he has been doing so well we have thanked God almost everyday for his continued healing. I pray that Joshie will talk and answer as well your precious Kolby when he is 5.

Last edited by Dolceaura; 01-26-2007 at 08:23 AM.

 
Old 01-26-2007, 10:43 AM   #8
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Re: autistic son can't answer questions

I agree about the poster who said yes and no questions should be first. This is the first step they should learn. Do you want some chips? Yes. If he says yes, give him the chip.

After your child masters the yes and no questions then you can go on to the who, what, when, where and how questions. When I started the next set of questions I would try to ask him things he could see. When I was holding the ball I would say "who has the ball" he would say mommy. Then when he had the ball I would say "who has the ball?" he would say I do.

Many children first learn how to answer questions by memorizing the answer. Once they get used to responding to questions they will be able to come up with their own answers. It is amazing. Have you ever thought of an ABA program? It breaks things into simple steps so your child can learn.

Last edited by KathleenW; 01-26-2007 at 10:45 AM.

 
Old 01-27-2007, 08:03 AM   #9
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Re: autistic son can't answer questions

I would love it if my child who is almost 11 could answer a question. She can barely answer a yes/ no question correctly. She is minimally verbal, so when I read about kids who are 4 or 5 and are doing rather ok with just some difficulties I get a little jealous. Im sorry if I seem mean but Ive just had some issues lately and my only outlet is these boards. But I am very excited for you that your child is doing well. My only suggestion is to keep up on the therapys its the only way to gain anything with this disorder~!! Good Luck~!!

 
Old 01-27-2007, 08:41 AM   #10
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Re: autistic son can't answer questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ocallaghan212 View Post
I would love it if my child who is almost 11 could answer a question. She can barely answer a yes/ no question correctly. She is minimally verbal, so when I read about kids who are 4 or 5 and are doing rather ok with just some difficulties I get a little jealous. Im sorry if I seem mean but Ive just had some issues lately and my only outlet is these boards. But I am very excited for you that your child is doing well. My only suggestion is to keep up on the therapys its the only way to gain anything with this disorder~!! Good Luck~!!
I can relate to the jealously. I get really jealous when I hear of all of the hours of ABA that some kids are getting. I truely am happy and excited for the kids and the parents. I want so desperately for all of these kids to reach their fullest potential. I am also very grateful for all of the ABA and other interventions that my son did recieve. I know that we are very lucky. But I still get jeleous and I get mad at the system.

 
Old 01-27-2007, 06:28 PM   #11
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tertree HB User
Re: autistic son can't answer questions

my son is almost 15 and he didnt start speaking until he was close to 5. once he went to school he started picking up more language and becoming more verbal. he always had problems answering questions. you might get the answer a few hours later lol when he was younger i would give him a chance to answer then id end up answering for him...worse thing you can do lol
anyhow now it may take him a few minutes to answer, i believe he has to process the question before he does answer so if you ask whats your favorite food? he is going to have to go thru the list of foods in his mind before he can come to the conclusion which one is his favorite.
I have gotten answers a couple days later. he will just answer it and then i have to stop and think huh? then its oh yeah lol
as he has gotten older he is getting much better. he is very slow on making decision also...he takes longer to take shopping then it does most women!!
its that whole processing thing!!

 
Old 01-29-2007, 08:38 PM   #12
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Re: autistic son can't answer questions

I still don't like answering questions, either - sometimes, I still give really indirect or evasive replies, and hardly know why I'm doing it, myself. I guess it's an expression thing. It's early days yet. It should improve with more interaction and schooling.

 
Old 01-30-2007, 08:43 AM   #13
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Re: autistic son can't answer questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by BetsyAnn View Post
I can relate to the jealously. I get really jealous when I hear of all of the hours of ABA that some kids are getting. I truely am happy and excited for the kids and the parents. I want so desperately for all of these kids to reach their fullest potential. I am also very grateful for all of the ABA and other interventions that my son did recieve. I know that we are very lucky. But I still get jeleous and I get mad at the system.

Trust me I'm jealous when I hear how much therapy everyone gets. My son only get's 1/2 hour a week for a speech and OT therapy in one. I'm fighting to get more time and I have a meeting next week to get this changed. Everytime he gets better they take more away from him. Drives me crazy.

And I can only imagine how hard it is not to hear your child talk. Well I know, I've been there and some days still am. I pray that all of us will one day have a way to better help our children.
Michelle
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Last edited by Kolby; 01-30-2007 at 08:45 AM.

 
Old 01-30-2007, 09:19 AM   #14
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Re: autistic son can't answer questions

Thank you and I think your son really sounds like mine. There is hope. Always!

For the bathroom we did use a reward system. You go three times you get a new game. We put a photo of him on the potty on paper and a copy of the game he wanted. We also drew three poops on it. Put it near the potty. He did not get pull ups or anything to help him hold the poop. Sometimes we made him walk around with nothing. He didn't like that but ran to the potty many times. Anyway, he just decided that he was going to use the potty one day and that was that. He still has small accidents here and there but nothing like it used to be. Kolby just does things when he wants.

Thanks
Michelle
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Old 02-01-2007, 06:09 PM   #15
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Re: autistic son can't answer questions

Thank you for helping me to get an inside view into my son's head. Now his answers make sense to me....I've been wondering for so long why he would answer my questions the way he does. He is only 4 and I couldn't understand why he said the things he did when I asked very simple questions. Now I know how I can help him expand.

Last edited by Lulu5; 02-01-2007 at 06:12 PM.

 
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