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responding only to specific instructions

(19 Posts)
nightowl Thu 18-Aug-05 03:01:19

yet another curious thread i start tonight.

my son's behaviour baffles me.

say for example, im changing the baby and ds asks for a biscuit. so i say "they're in the cupboard, help yourself".

he will come back five minutes later asking which cupboard.

the biscuits are in the same place they have been since we moved here five years ago, from where he has been able to get them himself since he was old enough. from where he got one last week etc.

so perhaps i say "in the kitchen, the cupboard by the cooker" (we only have a small kitchen with two wall cupboards).

five minutes later he returns, not knowing where the biscuits are.

so then i have to say "go into the kitchen, open the cupboard to the left of the cooker, the biscuits are on the second shelf up in a blue packet". i have to say this very slowly.

then he can find them.

this is just an example but he is like this with everything.

say i tell him to put his socks on. he wont chose a pair that is rolled together in the drawer. he will put odd ones on. unless i actually say "please go and put a pair of socks on" that is what happens.

if i say "put some shoes on" he would chose odd ones. i have to say "put a pair of shoes on".

all the things which seem obvious to me, arent to him. surely at 8 years old he should know this?

if he asks where his trousers are, i cant say "in your trouser drawer" (where they have always been). i have to give him very detailed instructions on where the drawer is and how to get to it. can anyone explain why this is?

it takes such a long time to give him specific instructions and by then, he has often forgotten what i have said so i find myself barking. "shoes, two the same, second drawer from the left" and so on.

is it just me?...surely all kids arent like this!!

newscot Thu 18-Aug-05 09:58:20

Nightowl, I would see about getting a referal to have your son assesed either by a developmental peadiatrician or preferably a speech and language therapist. I am guessing (and it is only a guess) that he has some type of language disorder wherebye he takes things literally and has trouble interpreting what has been said. My daughter had similar problems but has improved remarkably since having sessions with a speech therapist. We have followed through on things at home.
I don't wish to alarm you but I really think you should see something about this. It may well save a lot of heartache later on as life will only get more difficult. How is he coping at school? Have they raised any concerns with you?
Good Luck

mumtosomeone Thu 18-Aug-05 10:54:20

how old is the baby?

aloha Thu 18-Aug-05 10:55:39

How old is he? It doesn't sound very unusual to me. Actually, he sounds like most men I know.

madmarchhare Thu 18-Aug-05 10:56:23

Equally though, he could just be seeking extra attention since baby arrived.

flashingnose Thu 18-Aug-05 10:57:04

He's 8

mumtosomeone Thu 18-Aug-05 10:57:50

thats why I asked how ols the baby is.
Does he need more 'instructions' when you are busy with the baby?

aloha Thu 18-Aug-05 10:58:33

Sorry - I missed that he was eight. Assumed he was younger. The odd shoes thing seems a bit unusual I have to admit.

YeahBut Thu 18-Aug-05 11:19:02

Nightowl, I would second the advice given by newscot. It sounds worth getting him referred to a speech and language therapist. Your DS sounds very similar to my DD1 who has some severe language problems, which most obviously manifest themselves with difficulty in processing instructions. This is not something immediately obvious when you meet my dd socially, she is very chatty and has no problems with her speech. We are currently working with a SAL therapist. We are outside of the UK so I'm not sure how you would get a referral if you live in the UK but I think your GP would be the best place to start. I would write down all your concerns about your DS, even the weird things that seem like nothing so that you can impress upon your GP that you are not a nuerotic mum and that you do have real concerns.

LIZS Thu 18-Aug-05 11:24:17

Has he always behaved like this or is it recent. Possibly some sort of Auditory Processing Disorder, if long term or ear problem if recent ? ds has problems with multi stage instructions as part of a sequencing issue - he takes so long physically to do some things that he forgets what he is to do next.

Jimjams Thu 18-Aug-05 11:31:24

\links{\semantic pragmatic disorder?} - just a thought. You could google for more and see if it fits....

Jimjams Thu 18-Aug-05 11:31:52


Jimjams Thu 18-Aug-05 11:34:17

this page is better- includes links on auditory processing...

madmarchhare Thu 18-Aug-05 14:41:47

Have school picked up on anything?

nightowl Fri 19-Aug-05 03:45:51

am replying now and will look at the links later thanks for posting them.

its not really the being busy with the baby thing, that was just an example. this sort of thing happens all the time. (baby is 18 months btw).

ds was born prematurely but was very bright...he was never so good at the physical things (walking, etc) but his speech was excellent, we could have a full conversation with him at 18 months old).

for a couple of years now he has had extra help at school and has a "motor skills problem". i asked for a name for it but was told "there is no name for it, its a motor skills problem".

he's a strange little boy though, with strange little ways. most people who know him find his ways "cute", children who dont know him think hes "wierd".

i used to get so many comments from friends and strangers about how bright he was but now it seems impossible to get through to him sometimes.

its true also that he forgets things really easily, so im stuck. i have to give detailed instructions but know he will forget them in 2 minutes..hence my seemingly "barking out orders". he does tend to take EVERYTHING literally.

KristinaM Fri 19-Aug-05 05:59:20

You asked if this was typical of an 8yo ...and sorry, nightowl, I think your instincts are rights, this isn't typical. Most NT kids at 8 woudl put on a pair of shoes and could certainly find the biscuits. Like everyone says, i would get it checked out and do lots of research yourself.

As you probably know, most schools are very good at ignoring " problems" with kids unless they manifest as "behavioural problems" ie it might be a problem for the child and parents but unless its a problem for the teacher it doesnt exist! So just because the school hasnt commented on it doesn't mean its not real IYSWIM

LIZS Fri 19-Aug-05 09:46:54

nightowl, ds(7) also has "motor skill" issues and is possibly (not specifically diagnosed as yet) dyspraxic although that in itself is really just a list if symptoms. His sequencing issues are apparently linked. Does your ds get any one-to-one at school or Occupational Therapy as ds' OT incorporated step by step instructions into their sessions.

aloha Fri 19-Aug-05 10:10:41

If he's eight and still doing this, and with his other symptoms, I'd seriously consider dyspraxia. Without wanting to be funny, IMO it's no more 'a list of symptoms' than dyslexia is. My ds has it. It's an immaturity of the brain. My son is also very bright, esp mathematically and has a wide vocab but can act inappropriately & immaturely with other children and of course, has the motor skills impairment. Many children with dyspraxia have problems following instructions and aren't at all 'sensible'. They also have problems often with left/right, finding things etc. I started a thread on dyspraxia and 'seeing' about how our kids can often be totally baffled trying to find something in front of their noses. I just don't ask my nearly four year old to get anything as he wouldn't know where to start.

aloha Fri 19-Aug-05 10:11:33

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

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