Spectrummy Mummy

Asperger's, Allergies, and Adventures Abroad

Why?

with 3 comments

Pudding doesn’t ask ‘why?’ yet.  Nor does she appropriately answer when asked why.  For instance an exchange could be:

Pudding: I want a paintbrush.

Me: Why do you want a paintbrush?

Pudding: Yes, give me a paintbrush.

Me: Because you want to….

Pudding: Yes.  May I have paintbrush, please?

She is nothing if not polite, but no real answers here.  So many frustrations could be eased if we could just nail this concept.  She knows that she wants to paint, she knows that she needs a paintbrush to do so.  It is all almost there, just one tiny piece left out.  Another reason, I guess, why the symbol for autism is a puzzle piece.

The “wh” questions are generally difficult for kids with autism spectrum disorders.  Pronouns too, which I understand, because they are slippery little suckers that change around all the time depending on who is speaking.  Does ‘I’ mean me or you?  She gets around it by always using names, which is a smart solution for that issue, but won’t help with “wh” questions.  She actually uses “who?”, “what?”, and “where?” all the time, but “when?” and “why?” are just proving more problematic.  I think “when?” is because she has a murky concept of time.  When she doesn’t want to do something, she’ll frequently tell us she wants to do it “later, on Monday”, even if it is a Monday, for example.  We have included “wh” questions on her IEP, but “why?” doesn’t get included as many typically developing children don’t use it at this stage either, she is not considered delayed.

When we reach this point of being able to reason with her, so she can tell us why she needs something so badly, and I can explain why she can’t have something, it will make life so much easier.  We’ll be able to figure each other out, the start of understanding somebody else’s perspective, the seeds that one day might sprout into a Theory of Mind (which is a whole other post, trust me.  Or just google it if you’re curious).

Of course, “why?” will come one day.  When it does I’ll have to be ready with the answers.  I can do “why can’t I have a cookie?” and even try my hand at “why is the sky blue?”.  Sooner or later though, we’ll get the really tough ones: “why am I different?”, “why do I have Asperger’s?”, “why won’t they play with me?”.  I’m not even close to being able to answer, or at least give a satisfactory answer.  In the case of the last one, I’m not even ready to hear that being asked, but I know one day it will.

The other day I found this site which provides free resources for teaching these tricky concepts, and I made a book of why.  With lots of repetition, we’ll get there.  In a year she has come such a long way, I have no doubt we can do this too.

I may not have all the answers worked out, but I do have a response for when she asks me a “why” I can’t answer: go ask daddy.  Sometimes parenting and spectrummy parenting are the exact same thing, don’t ask me why!

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Written by Spectrummy Mummy

August 12, 2010 at 6:55 am

3 Responses

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  1. I know exactly how you feel on the why issue. Mr. Blue Eyes has the same problem and he starts kindergarten on Tuesday. I too worry aboit the why questions….especially those tough ones. Fortunately his social awareness is so delayed that he has yet to recognize when other kids isolate him…but that won’t last forever and when he does realize it I’m not sure if my heart can break anymore than it does when I see it happen despite his oblivion. For me its a daily prayer for his emotional protection that gives me peace. Hang in there spectrummy mummy…we are not alone in this. :)

    Pudding's Aunt

    August 12, 2010 at 7:20 pm

    • It does seem like these kids were sent to break our hearts, fortunate that they also have the remedy to put it right back together again. :-) The good thing about social skills, is that they can be taught, and there are so many resources out there to help now. I really hope Mr. Blue Eyes’ new teacher is the kind that is willing to go that extra mile, and encourage him in his efforts. I’ll be thinking of him on Tuesday.

      spectrummymummy

      August 12, 2010 at 8:09 pm

  2. […] when I have to be patient with a small stash. I knew that it was a year ago (and four days) since I’d written that Pudding doesn’t ask why. I knew, because I’ve been waiting for this fix ever […]


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