Friday, June 27, 2008

Metaphorically Speaking

My son's listening range never fails to amaze me. Case in point, the other day was his first day of summer day camp. I picked up a red cheeked and clearly tired boy, overwhelmed I'm sure, cognitiviely and physically from all the newness of the people, the space, the activities, the routine change.

When we got home that afternoon, he couldn't even finish his dinner, so tired was he, and retired to the quiet of his room and proceeded to take a 3 hour nap. Completely out of the norm for Casey. It even knocked me for a loop, I almost didn't know what to do with myself (although I used the time no problem! :0) )

The next day, we arrived again at the little historical one room schoolhouse his camp is stationed in. He bounded into the room, doing his regular circling of the permiter of the room. I jokingly asked one of the counselors "What did you do to that kid? He died when he got home last night. He slept for 3 hours!". She laughed and said she did the same.

Later that afternoon, I once again picked him up. Settled in the car, he began to beg for me to get him some fast food. Teasingly, I said "I don't know, you couldn't even stay up long enough last night to eat!". He thought for a minute and then responded "But I didn't die last night! I want fast food!". It took me about 20 seconds to get over my shock of the comment and recall the use of the metaphor I used that morning pertaining to his exhaustion. I hadn't a clue he had heard me, and really taken aback at his apparant misunderstanding of it. I felt bad and explained as best I could what a metaphor was. I remember someone mentioning that metaphorical speaking is very difficult for naturally literal Autistics to wrap their brains around (there I go again). He seemed to understand after I gave him some examples.

I guess despite my explanations, I need to need to me more careful about my terminology that I use with him, or anyone he's within earshot of hearing me talk to!


Marla said...

Oh, my. We have that happen all the time here too. I have to be really careful what I say. I used to say, "I feel like my head is going to explode!" Had to stop saying that! M takes everything literally. It is hardest when we are not around to remind others of that. Once she had a teacher who always said, "Zip your lips!" Totally freaked M out. It was not until I observed that I realized this teacher was full of bizarre comments like this. M spent each day terrified from the weird sayings. Sigh.

the mother of this lot said...

Just called to say thanks for visiting! Did Casey get the fast food?

VAB said...

Our SLP actually pretty weel fixed this problem for our guy. All she did was to teach him idioms by way of memorization. She would start off by using one in a sentence and asking him to choose between a literal interpretation, an incorrect interpretation and the correct interpretation. Then she would play ordinary flash card memory games with them. After he had mastered about a hundred, he started spotting them and figuring them out by himself. Now he really enjoys and is quite good at spotting and decoding non-literal language. It's still not entirely natural or automatic for him, but, basically, once he was given the chance to really think about it, he got a handle on it pretty fast.