Thursday, November 20, 2008

Taking things literally

Based on what I have read, it is common for people with autism to take things very literally. I can't speak for others, but we definitely see that at our house, especially with Cuddlebug. Here are some examples just from the last couple of weeks:

Cuddlebug (angry): "Mama, Dada told a LIE." (saying the word "lie" with utter contempt)
me: "What do you mean?"
CB: "He said I'm tired! I'm not tired! He told a LIE."
me (stifling a laugh): "Well, he probably thought you looked tired."
CB: "But I'm NOT tired!"
me: "Ok, well even if you're not tired it's still bedtime."
CB: "But I'm not tired."
me: "Tell you what, since you're not tired, how about if you read a story or two before you go to bed?"
CB (smiling): "Ok"
me: "But after that, you still need to go to bed so you'll be rested for tomorrow, ok?"
CB: "Ok"


We came up with a new rule about video games. If the boys' schoolwork that they bring home each day is all correct, they can play their video games for a while after their homework is completed. If they missed some questions on the schoolwork they bring home, then we want to spend some time working with them on what they missed to make sure they'll understand it next time (this is in addition to time spent on regular homework), which means less time for video games.

This wasn't intended to be punitive, but that was initially how they took it. We tried to explain that we're trying to help them, and make sure that they understand everything that they need to on their schoolwork. Dh used the phrase, "we push you because we know you can do it." To which Cuddlebug responded, "but if you push me that will hurt."

I guess he thought we were going to physically "push" him, so we had to re-explain that what we meant was "encourage." You'd think we'd have learned by now, but there are still misunderstandings that we don't always see coming :P. I think they were both ok with the new rule and clear on the reason behind it by the time we were done talking, but it was a longer discussion that I really intended to have in order to get there...


and this weekend... the boys decided to play wii for the first time in a long time, and took turns playing it a LOT.

dh: "It's time to turn the game off, you've been playing all day."
CB (indignant): "NO, we haven't!!"
me and dh: "Yes, you have."
CB: "I haven't been playing ALL DAY!"
me: "you've been playing for a long time, pretty much all day. It's time to take a break."

At this point, CB got overly angry and dh sent him to his room. I went up a few minutes later to check on him.

CB: "Mama, you weren't listening to me."
me: "About the game?"
CB: "Yes, you said I played it all day. I didn't."
me: "Well, you played it this morning, and you played it this afternoon. That's a lot of playing."
CB: "Yeah, but I also played upstairs. All day means I played it from the morning to the night. I didn't play it all day."
me: "Well, that's true, you did take a break for a while. But you did play the game a lot today, right?"

CB: "yeah."
me: "Ok. So it's time to take a break."
CB: "Ok."

AAAHHHH! I should have realized that was the problem sooner. He didn't even so much mind taking a break from the game, he was just upset that we said he played "all day" when technically, that wasn't true. Ok, I stand corrected.

Sigh. Anyone else have kids who take things sooo literally??

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Amazing_Grace on November 20, 2008 at 9:29 AM said...

When you would say, "It's raining cats and dogs," my son would think it was really raining cats and dogs. LOL!

CC on November 20, 2008 at 1:47 PM said...

Aw hugs! Try out some of those silly books to work on non-literary. Like "Parts" and "More Parts" and Amelia Bedilia. :)

My Three Sons on November 20, 2008 at 2:40 PM said...

That would be my oldest. He has a way of taking everything I say to the extreme.

Last night the boys brought home midterms and Coltan has a D in Social Studies. Coltan is a straight A student so I'm trying to figure out what is going on. He has all of his work turned in and isn't missing any assignments so that can't be the problem. So I'm explaining to him that until he gets this grade up he needs to go over all of the material from that day so he can retain it better. After listening he says to me, mom this isn't a sewing class, it is history. I had no idea what he was talking about until I asked where his reading material was and then I got it. Holy Cow, what ARE they teaching our kids? Or is my talking just old school vocab?

Gotta love our kids!

Izzy, Emmy 'N Alexander on November 20, 2008 at 2:45 PM said...

LOL! That's actually some cute stuff. I hope it gets a little easier to use those literations but in the meantime, you get to have those special conversations with them.

Jenny on November 20, 2008 at 6:08 PM said...

We have some issues with that, but not to the extent you do. We do have issues with Jackson not understanding the concept of time yet, so anytime someone says that something will happen tomorrow (or any other time), he expects it to happen RIGHT NOW! I'm always reminding my husband not to mention any fun activities that might be occurring the next day or weekend!

Anonymous said...

Oh yes, absolutely! I have been slowly introducing various phrases and explaining what they mean, which he really loves. Things like "you're pulling my leg" and so on. :)

Anonymous said...

We have some issues with taking things literally, but Daniels doesn't have the expressive language to argue so much. It's obvious when something I've said confuses him and I catch myself and realize whatever it was that I said. You should keep track of these things, even if it's just for yourself. :)


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I'm a mom of three boys on the autism spectrum, 11-yr-old identical twins and a 7-yr-old. My husband is a SAHD.


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