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ASD- will only say "yes", how to get to use other words

(11 Posts)
juliaw Mon 22-Jun-09 21:11:31

How do I move DS3 on from just using one word for everything? We are just getting going with More Than Words / speech therapy ideas at home and have got DS3 to realise he needs to communicate with words to get something, but he just says yes for everything. eg Help? yes Milk? "yes" " Computer "yes yes yes!", offering each jigsaw piece "yes" - I have tried with-holding the desired item and he has a tantrum and then gives up although I keep modeling the word. I feel bad because he is communicating by saying yes so I'm torn between rewarding him for using words, and wanting to move him onto the next step of using other words. He does label things and sing songs, so he does "know" the words I am trying to get him to say and uses them in other contexts, but is just relying on yes as his sole functional word to get through through the day. I have to respect his logic though, its certainly working! The speech therapist suggested PECS, but he just points at the picture and says yes, although we have just started with pictures.

cyberseraphim Tue 23-Jun-09 11:33:21

Does he request spontaneously ? I mean if he wants Juice will he ask for it ? Yes is quite an abstract word for a young ASD child. DS1 used to overuse Yes at times - appending it to everything but he grew out of it but then again does not use yes as often as he used to.

I think the thing about PECS is that it will not work unless you follow the system to the letter which requires proper training. Also the parent has to be 100% committed which can be hard if your child is already a little bit verbal. I think PECS is supposed to start with a single card exchange with no verbal language - PECS is supposed to kick start communication not kick start language. If your DS is not requesting spontaneously then possibly it could help him.

asdx2 Fri 26-Jun-09 17:19:43

Oh remember those days when yes meant any object and again was any action. Coupled with a child who couldn't point it was a nightmare because eventually she would just say yes and I had to run around offering things until I got the right "yes" because she wouldn't even meaningfully gaze at what she wanted.
At least when she learnt her colours before she could point she would just say the colour and it at least gave me a clue.
SALT suggested saying "yes biscuit" or "yes car" but Lucy never took to that. Lucy didn't have any other words though so not sure whether what worked for us would work for you.
Lucy loved small toy animals and she loved matching pairs so we had pairs of toy animals starting with a dog as it was her favourite and we'd sit opposite gaining her attention with the dog and giving the label dog quite a few times until she really wanted it and we'd give her the dog.
Then we brought out the matching one which was a real desire for Lucy because she loved matching pairs.Then we would say "dog" pause "good talking Lucy". As soon as she made any attempt to make a sound she would get the dog and I would say "dog, good talking Lucy".
It took about three weeks to get a sound and another three weeks to get an actual word bearing in mind we did 30 plus hours a week (not on the one word obviously) But it was a breakthrough and each subsequent word came much quicker because she realised that each object had a word and to get the object she just had to say the word.
If she didn't attempt a sound she didn't get the object and it would go back in the box of course having one of a pair meant she got second chances because any sound made whilst holding one would be met with "dog! good talking Lucy" and rewarded with a second one.
As I said it may not necessarily work for you but tbh if he has the words for what he wants I would hold out on giving him what he wanted until he tried the word.
It's not easy and I hated putting the toys back but she had to learn that the quickest way to get her needs met was to give me the word. I would say good talking to remind her what I wanted but I held out and she quickly went from having no speech to more than 200 words that she used meaningfully in six months.

bubblagirl Fri 26-Jun-09 17:30:25

how about if you were to give a choice yes car or juice would he say yes juice or just yes

does he have other words or just yes as if its just yes then its quite normal to be confident with one word and it means everything ds did this with no everything was no even if he meant yes so we would have melt downs as never knew if he really wanted it or not lol

we did tasks with track and held a piece of track back and every time passed one over said more we did this for few days and he started saying more when wanting piece of track as he's remembered from the days we did it

and again with help if he couldn't do something "help" you want help ok and just again did this for few days and id say what do you want he had more and help by then so more could be anything so id say more what show me and he'd lead me to what he wanted oh you want more juice again for help we focused on these words then once he had got them we worked on more but they came along well after that

even if he just pointed to what he wanted and didnt speak we were to praise and give it to him verbalising what it was then saying can you say ?{Object} never forcing but keeping it relaxed and if he tried we never made huge fuss just well done we found every time we fussed ds he clammed up

we just made sure all our actions were verbalised around him and sentences kept short

also with pecs we found holding picture by our mouth and saying word worked better his focus was better even now at 4 his speech has come along great but we still have to get his focus by holding pic by our mouth

bubblagirl Fri 26-Jun-09 17:32:11

we were told to give no matter what as it will keep relaxed and less stressed around language just keep modelling words ourselves in about 6 mths of doing all this ds confidence of speech came along hugely and was speaking in short sentences although still hugely behind peers he tried so hard

asdx2 Fri 26-Jun-09 18:15:29

I maybe should add that had Lucy pointed to indicate her needs then I would have given it to her but seeing as she didn't point until after she was three and even now at six it's a bit hit and miss that was never an option.
For us speaking just seemed to be the best option PECS didn't work for us because she didn't seem to link the photo with the object.
We did use Makaton which again she showed no real interest in but proved later that she did know the signs that we had tried to get her to use when she started singing and would use the signs that we had showed her more than six months previously although at the time she chose not to use them.
Now at six she has normal speech although she doesn't initiate conversations and needs reminding that she can use speech to get her needs met as she will stay silent. But considering at the time of her diagnosis they were unsure as to how much speech she would have and after her brother had already proved them wrong by acquiring normal speech I feel she has done incredibly well.

gigglewitch Fri 26-Jun-09 18:27:10

wondered whether you are better off dropping the choices idea for now and get a bit of language in use with a "now/next" card. If you have two pictures, say "now computer, then drink" and make sure it's always the "now xxxx then xxxx" words that you say, might give him a chance to figure out some more vocab, which he may or may not choose to try to say. Choices can be a difficult thing, do you do the good old tricks of asking your other dc (or anyone there!) the "would you like milk or juice" type question so that he has a model? Am sure you are already well on the way with a lot of it, and it's often just a case of doing it for what seems like forever til you get a result. Good luck! smile

juliaw Sun 28-Jun-09 22:18:37

Thanks for all the replies. He does have a lot of vocabulary (he didn't regress until 2 so had a lot of words which are still in there somewhere we know as he uses them sometimes to label things). He requests things by pulling me to them eg the computer and the fridge or tv mainly and saying yes. If I ask him "computer?" or "juice?" (his favourite things) he will reply correctly "yes". We just seemed stuck in this loop. I shall try saying "yes computer" and "yes juice" etc and see how we go. The SALT says she wants to use PECS and will teach us next time she comes, so I'll try this in the meantime. I wasn't sure whether if he correctly answered using yes whether I should be holding out for him to use other words, even though his answer "yes" was an accurate response IFSWIM

gigglewitch Mon 29-Jun-09 00:05:52

one little thing about PECS from the students who I teach, who use it : structure from early on where or when you use it. We have some students who only use it for making requests for food or drinks - incessantly in some cases. The system is a really good one, and there are several 'levels' to move through to use it at the optimum for each person. I'm not criticising the system in any way - a means of communicating has to be all good and it's whatever works for your little one - just a heads-up that whatever he learns at the outset is likely to stick, and if he can ask for "juice" or "computer" a dozen times a day, whilst it may be a breakthrough now, will become a different issue in a few months time. Ohh nooooo that sounds negative and it's not meant to be. Hope you see what I mean, just make it clear what he's expected to do. Which, hopefully, will be part of the SALT's training with you both smile

cyberseraphim Mon 29-Jun-09 13:38:42

"He requests things by pulling me to them eg the computer and the fridge or tv mainly and saying yes. If I ask him "computer?" or "juice?" (his favourite things) he will reply correctly "yes". "

It's possible PECS could help break the loop. It's also possible he thinks 'Yes' is just a word he says when asked a question. If you are confident he knows the word biscuit (can label it) then you could try not giving it til he says the word - very old fashioned advice and certainly not guaranteed to work but they do suggest this in Hanen and it worked for us. I think PECS does need a lot of committment and may not be as easy as is sometimes suggested so you need to be very sure you want to do it.

We have repetitive requesting now - in quite long phrases though !

PipinJo Tue 30-Jun-09 23:31:09

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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