By Kodey Toney
Hold On Loosely
In the ongoing battle with idioms I thought I would share a few breakthroughs that we have had in the past couple weeks. I think these show a couple things that are associated with the miscommunication and social issues involved in autism spectrum disorder. It shows that we have to work on social cues and figures of speech. It also shows that when given some instruction you can help them understand.
I know this is something that I have talked about a lot in the past, but it has come up several times lately and I think it’s worth talking about.
Konner’s speech therapist His speech therapist Catey Doby has been working with him on this for several weeks now. She is trying to help him understand that people don’t always mean what they say.
What made me think about this is that this morning I was trying to get him ready for school. He came into our bedroom and was talking to me. I told him he needed to get dress, and before I could finish he started to walk out of the room. I needed to get him some socks, which are in our room, so I told him to hold on for a second. As I was sorting through his socks for the right pair, I heard him say, “I’m holding on…I’m holding on…Daddy, I’m holding on.”
I turned to look and I see him holding on to the corner of the wall with both hands as hard as he could. I said, “What are you doing.”
He said, “I’m holding on Daddy. You told me to hold on.”
After I got through laughing for a few seconds I tried to explain to him that I really didn’t mean to “hold on” to anything. I told him it was a figure of speech, or idiom, and that I really just meant for him to wait while I got the socks for him.
Last week it was storming and he came in during the hardest part of the storm. He said, “Mommy, it’s really raining cats and dogs outside right now isn’t it?”
Jen replied with a bit of a laugh of amusement, “Yes it is.”
He said, “That doesn’t mean that cats and dogs are really falling from the sky though. It just means that it’s raining really hard.”
This was something that Mrs. Catey had been talking to him about. The really exciting part for us was that he understood, and he used it correctly in the moment.
I was talking about him to someone else later that week, and we were discussing that he didn’t talk much when he was younger. I didn’t think that he was really listening. I wasn’t talking bad about him, but I should have known better than to think he wouldn’t be taking in the conversation.
He interrupted, “Do you mean that I clammed up Daddy?”
It caught me off guard, and after I figured out what he meant I said, “Yes, I guess in a sense that is what I meant.”
It wasn’t the perfect use of the idiom, but he did get the gist of it, and he was trying to use it in conversation. What a breakthrough! He was, first of all, being social. He was having a conversation with us, and he was trying to understand the idiom he learned and use it in context.
We have talked about these lately, and I told him that if he doesn’t understand when someone uses these idioms to just ask. He has to learn what they mean and when he can use them properly.
Speech therapy works, and thanks to Catey Doby for helping him with social skills.