My 8-year-old with Aspergers has two verbal/speech issues that are challenging. One is a tic or stim where he clears his throat or says "um" frequently (my MIL, who is also on the spectrum, does the same thing). The other issue is that he sometimes hesitates and says "um" several times while saying a single sentence. This is most frequent when he is speaking publicly (in class, for example). It doesn't happen all the time, though. Some of his therapists have never heard it. His teachers have mentioned it, though, and said the kids are patient with him, but it is something of an issue. I know other kids do notice it and the tics. He is very bright and in a mainstream private school. We'd like to minimize the social stumbling blocks he faces as much as possible.
Our professionals have not been super helpful with this. Our speech pathologist called is "developmental disfluency" and said he should outgrow it, but it seems like that typically happens by this age. One (condescending) psychologist said he is using it as a method to preserve his space in the conversation. He does have a very slow processing speed and can be anxious. I think both are anxiety related, but can't figure out any strategies. Does anyone have ideas?
My Aspy son (7.5) doesn't have the tics, but if he has a complex thought he'll get a few words out, stop, begin at the beginning of the sentence again and get a few more words in, then rewind and try again with a few more words, sometimes 7 or 8 times till he gets the whole thought out.
In terms of strategies, really acceptance is mostly what we use. We ask his teacher to please give him the wait time he needs to say what he needs to say rather than finish his sentences for him, and we ask his brother to please wait his turn to talk. Yes, it's kind of a pain for people around him, but I think in general in our culture we'll all (me included!) in such a rush to get our own turn in a sentence that we're not such great listeners, and I think of my son as giving me the opportunity to learn patience. :)
He definitely has a harder time getting it out if he's stressed, and not being listened to stresses him out, so we mostly just listen (unless it's not his turn to talk- but that's a whole other thread! he's pretty terrible at waiting for his turn and I wish I had some strategies for _that_!)
Mom to ds1 (ASD) born 2004 and ds2 born 2007
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