Thursday, April 17, 2008

Clinic Notes: Language and Autism

Language and speech problems are apparent in children with autism. Many children with autism only understand the literal aspects of language and not what is implied or metaphorical. For example, I was recently trying to get a new child diagnosed with autism to interact with me. I rolled a ball to him and said, "Roll it back". He picked up the ball, put it behind his head and let it roll down his back. I had not said, "Roll the ball back to me." The implied part of the sentence did not register. Idioms are another real problem. If I say to a child with autism, "It's raining cats and doges," they look at me like I'm crazy. One of the children I see with autism got mad at one of her relatives that she ad not seen in a while. The relative said, "You are growing like a weed." The child was insulted because she thought the relative was calling her a weed and did not get the metaphor.

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