Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Speech Therapy and Inability to Summarize

So, MJ was in speech 2 days a week. I'm not sure really what it could do for him because it seemed to me that it was more of a part of his brain functioning and processing delay that caused him to speak in chunks or spurts or to repeat the same phrases over and over. But I figured what would it hurt, so I let him go to speech and read things to the speech teacher.

He would get little reports home from the speech teacher saying how he was improving with his reading with "smooth talking" as she called it, while I was thinking she needed to work with him more on spontaneous things rather than reading because that's when he seemed to have more problems.

But anyway, this is when I found out something quite incredible.

For years I had known that MJ had this super memory and was really smart. I remember he would always be reading some 500 page book when I'd take him to the store or wherever, and I would cringe when people asked to tell them about his book because I know he would tell them word for word the entire book chapter by chapter! Well, not quite, but he would start telling them detail per detail about almost everything and it would take a good half hour minimum for him to answer. I know they were probably looking for "it's a book about this boy and a dragon" when he is going to tell the entire storyline to them. I guess I find it quite funny now.

But anyway, MJ would bring these speech homework sheets home where he was supposed to read this page long story and then in his own words tell me back the story using "smooth talking".

Now these were maybe 5-6 paragraph short little stories, and I'll emphasize that he was supposed to summarize in his own words, because it just amazed me what he would do.

There would be a story about Bob and his grandpa and how they went fishing and the boat wouldn't start and how they were scared and blah blah blah.......etc.......until they figured out what to do and got home. Anyway, Micah would read it just once for the first time, then I would take the paper away and wait for him to retell me the story in his own words.

The only thing was he couldn't do it. Now, I don't mean he couldn't, but he could not summarize in his own words, and it was somewhat amazing.

Here I was holding this paper and MJ would retell me the story almost word for word EXACT to what I was holding in my hand. Like he was doing the speaking part and even saying "said Grampa" and something something something, "Bob cried". It was as if he had the paper and was just reading me the whole story all over again, but this was from reading it once and it was memorized or something. It was incredible!

So, I began taking notice that really this was a part of MJ that if you asked him what he did today, you wouldn't just get the "we went on a field trip and I played outside", but instead you would get a layout of everything he did from the time he hung up his back pack to come home from school.

Maybe it was our fault for not explaining exactly what we were expecting, but that's a part of this whole Asperger's thing. It's like you asked me the question, now why don't you want to hear me answer? (Don't worry, I'll get into this a little later.)

Speech went on and I suppose maybe MJ got a little better at his talking, but I'm not really sure. I didn't know if it was something that could be fixed like that of a lisp or a natural stutter.


Nick and Rachel said...

Wow. That is amazing that he could practically recite the short story back to you! The other day I saw a new book on Asbergers that just came out. Have you ever thought about reading one of the newer books and posting your review on here as far as how relatable it is?

Dani Moraes said...

Hi. I came upon your blog when I was searching about Speech Therapy. I also have a son who is Asperger, and I totally recognized him in your post. My son also memorizes a whole book, a whole conversation of his favorite movie but won't be able to summarize it. Now I'm curious because I haven't tried speech therapy yet. Did it work for your son ? Thank you very much and I'll sure come back for more posts.