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Say what?

My daughter has autism.

Most of my regular readers know that.

Autism is a funny thing. Not in a “ha-ha” way, but in the way it presents itself.

Faith is a very literal child. If someone says that it is raining cats and dogs, she will go to the window and expect to see cats and dogs. Because you just said it was raining cats and dogs.

This literal-ness didn’t used to be as big of an issue as it has become recently.


Because Faith didn’t talk much. And when she did talk, it was very, very obvious that she is developmentally delayed. When you have a child who is very obviously developmentally delayed, people tend not to listen much when they do talk.

I don’t mean that in a rude, or bad way.

It just is.

She was hard to understand, and unless you were part of her everyday life, you probably had no idea what she was saying.

But lately, at 9, her speech is becoming clearer. So she can now hold a conversation, but here is the kicker….

Her comprehension of the conversation is not what you are expecting.

An example that came up today:

Faith was asked at school if she put her book in her backpack.

She said “Yes”.

Faith got home….no book in the backpack.

When the school was called and asked if they knew where the book was at, they told us that they had asked Faith if she put it in the backpack, and she said yes.

Ok, I know my daughter …… so I asked her if she put her book in her backpack at the end of the school day.

To which she said no.

It is not enough to ask a question like “Did you put the book in your backpack?” because if she has ever, at any time put the book in her backpack, she will say “Yes” and mean it.

Because she did. She put the book in her backpack.


Last week.

Maybe last month.

The way you phrase a question during the conversation will change her response. The clearer, and more direct the question, the easier it is for her to provide the correct answer.

{ 3 comments… add one }
  • Ashley September 12, 2012, 4:59 pm

    So true!!! My literal thinker definitely keeps me on my toes. I like to think I’d make a good attorney now after being trained on how to word phrases and questions.

  • Susan September 12, 2012, 10:20 pm

    I have a friend with a disabled child. When they talk to their child they ask simple, one sentence questions. They wait for a response and then ask another question. That’s the way the conversation goes. At first I thought it was odd, but now after reading your post, I understand. Thanks for sharing your stories. :_

  • Meg September 18, 2012, 4:27 pm

    Ashley — AMEN, Sister!! Mommies of ASD kids could probably argue cases in front of the Supreme Court and win, based on knowing how to question and respond.

    Today was not black and white, but rather yellow and yellow and yellow and blue. Jude had to determine which object was DIFFERENT from the yellow schoolbus – the yellow boots, the yellow bananas or the blueberries. He understood the blue blueberries were blue and that was different, BUT so were the yellow boots and the yellow bananas because they were not the same SHADE of yellow, therefore they were not the same as the bus.

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