Talk

Advanced search

Here are some suggested organisations that offer expert advice on SN.

Language disorder/delay?

(8 Posts)
StarkAndWitchesWillFindYou Thu 11-Nov-10 18:50:07

Just as I'd figured out the difference I get told that ds has neither but his language is 'disorganised'.

Anyone have a clue what THAT means?

DLIguy Thu 11-Nov-10 18:53:58

It must have been a dysfunctional doctor who told you that.

StarkAndWitchesWillFindYou Thu 11-Nov-10 19:00:34

It was a SALT.

working9while5 Thu 11-Nov-10 19:29:23

Disorder and delay are diagnostic terms.

Disorganised was probably used more descriptively to relate to difficulties planning, pretty much as it sounds.

The simplest model of language planning is the Garrett model.

This assumes that we have a message in mind before we begin to speak - an idea of something before we add words to it, e.g. a mental representation e.g. your ds wants you to make him a sausage and he has a mental image of you doing this in the kitchen and it involving fridges and plates and you.

To convey this message to someone else, there is a certain amount of linguistic assemblage that needs to happen. Each individual word needs to be retrieved, then it needs to be assembled into some order, then refined so that it is grammatically accurate and with an intelligible sound "shape" (much more detail about this sort of process here: http://www.smithsrisca.demon.co.uk/PSYgarrett1990. html).

In your ds's case, this isn't really what's happening. From the limited data I have on his production, I would say that he's not actually retrieving or assembling individual words, but large chunks of language that he has associated with context. This is a "gestalt" style of language learning: it suggests that in terms of language analysis/planning that this process is not adequately functioning.

Basically, instead of working from the message level out to the minor grammatical details needed to execute what he has in mind (bottom up), he works from the end point of having previously associated a long chunk of language with that context. All very well if his message happens to correspond with a chunk of language that "works" and makes sense to the other person, but what he's actually doing is taking bits of sentences that have worked and kind of throwing them together, meaning they only make sense if you, as a communication partner, have specific individual knowledge of the context or work to fill in the gaps (which an adult will do, a peer may not). It is a haphazard approach - a bit disorganised, I guess.

My only issue with this interpretation is that I think, in some ways, this is the norm for a lot of verbal individuals with ASD and at some point, for many, they break the code/pattern, suggesting that they may be developing language in an altogether different way to this model (which is based on data of the errors made by adults with aphasia, who would potentially have a very different linguistic model and have a static, damaged language system vs a dynamic, developing one). However, that's just my gut instinct on the issue.. I haven't yet come across a model that resolves this issue.

StarkAndWitchesWillFindYou Thu 11-Nov-10 20:08:28

'My only issue with this interpretation is that I think, in some ways, this is the norm for a lot of verbal individuals with ASD and at some point, for many, they break the code/pattern, suggesting that they may be developing language in an altogether different way to this model (which is based on data of the errors made by adults with aphasia, who would potentially have a very different linguistic model and have a static, damaged language system vs a dynamic, developing one).'

Sorry, can you explain what you mean by this. Are you saying that it is the norm for people with ASD but they usually manage to sort it out?

Or are you saying that they don't fit in with this interpretation because their language development is organic?

working9while5 Thu 11-Nov-10 20:40:32

More the first. I have no evidence for saying this, btw.. it's just I've come across quite a LOT of kids who go through what your ds is doing and seem to sort it out e.g. it resolves more or less spontaneously.

My clearest memory of this was a boy of about 8. I was involved in the MDT who were diagnosing him, which (of course) took forever. When I first saw him, his language was very much as you describe your son's as being, so I set about designing him a programme to resolve it. Due to illness in his family and various cancelled appointments and bank holidays and team meetings and all the usual things that interfere with prompt service delivery, there was a gap of about 6 months between me writing this programme and seeing him again.. and when he came back, the structural difficulties had more or less resolved. In fact, off the top off my head, I can think of about six kids who've had this sort of profile who have sorted the surface syntax/word order/chunking issues. I also saw it with the boy I used to be ABA tutor for (I did a huge linguistic analysis of him as a student, so it's been something I've always looked out for since).

It's just a hypothesis of mine.. I just wonder if they just approach the whole business of language learning very differently, these children who mix'n'match chunks. Sort of like they are hypothesis-testing how the constituents operate by trying again and again and eventually they break the code.

I'm not saying they were miraculously cured. There were still issues of language and communication to contend with, and their language was still notably "autistic-like" but the clunkiness of patching long phrases together to make new meanings more or less resolved in time.

StarkAndWitchesWillFindYou Thu 11-Nov-10 21:12:49

Oh, I see. Sort of a cognitive economy. They find out that they can get just as good results with more efficient sentences by accident but kind of gravitate towards that because it is easier.

It's really interesting you say that actually because being absent of our usual Thurs PM tutor (who is around when my dd has a nap) meant I got ds all to myself for a couple of hours.

He was in a reasonably communicative mood and so I analysed his language with a little bit more understanding and adding to it this mornings SLT in the context of the level of work I have to put into addressing his difficulties.

If I'm honest I wondered myself whether he needed that level of concrete coding imagery. The thing that I noticed that I never had before was that he self-corrects sometimes and responded very well to modelling.

I wondered (and how awful that I've come so far away from this to have lost touch with it's benefits) whether just talking to him more and modelling more would be more what he needed right now.

Of course, the way I am now I'd have to find a way of measuring it, and working out common problems to work on systematically, - but as a general strategy, simply talking to him more and modelling might be worth a try.

I feel a bit stupid saying it, but the thing is when he was hardly saying anything I was told to model, talk to him and he'd pick it up.

He clearly wasn't doing and it was the most frustrating and unrewarding thing I've ever had to do. So I dismissed it, and looked for other approaches which worked - successfully I might add. Consequently I went virtually mute wrt normal modelling and conversation.

I wonder if it is time to change back?

working9while5 Thu 11-Nov-10 21:44:51

You could try a bit of scribing. I did this with the boy I was ABA tutor for after the linguistic analysis stuff. It was subject to the same sorts of contingencies as any other of his ABA programmes: he had to do it. But essentially we wrote a diary of what he did that day or a topic of his choosing (high preference stuff) and I used facilitative techniques like "and then?", or repeating back what he said and adding and then, or just waiting or telling him to say a bit more, but when I wrote it down I would repeat it with correct structure.

I suppose the difference now is that if he's trying to analyse linguistic input (as he's now ready fo it and "gets" what language is for) he may need exposure to help him.

Can't guarantee this is the case but it's a pretty low-harm strategy to give a bash at.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now