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Repetitive questions in 4 year old with query ASD - what to do.

(16 Posts)
ABitStretched Sun 07-Jun-09 20:26:36

ds1 (4) behaviour has improved massively in last few weeks and we've all been really chilled but one of his quirks that is not going away is his repetitve questions / statements.
One thing he says - totally at random is 'where is everybody'- i know he doesn't mean it because he says it anytime and if I ask him who he means he can't answer me. He may get side tracked onto something else for a while but it soon crops up.
The other is 'I want to go home'- but will say it even if we are at home.

Today was an 'ASD' day in our house - that was because it was the weekend, Dad was home and although we had a lovely morning watching a DVD together it was completely different to our normal routine - cue odd physical movements, total tantrum about the how we knocked on my parents door and where we were allowed to blow his nose (in the garden not indoors, that was a new one on me). sorry I'm rambling. But basicly today was the first time when I noticed he only says these things on days when his more difficult traits are on show. Which got me thinking they could be a sign of insecurity. So do I reply to the questions to show that I am listening and there for him and try to push the conversation towards understanding how he's feeling - which will be very difficult as he hates talking about himself. But does that risk rewarding him with attention and encouraging him to keep asking repeating the question?
Any suggestions from those with experience.

Barmymummy Sun 07-Jun-09 20:43:29

Sorry don't have much advice but I know completely what you mean. My DS (4) has also comes on massively in the last few weeks but it is always the speech things that bring me crashing down to earth.

We went on a picnic today with members of my family that DS has never met before. Now 6 months ago he wouldn't have spoken to them and if they spoke to him he would have covered his eyes and yelled GO AWAY! So...I should have been thrilled to see him go bounding up to them...and I was until he said "I am number 4!! I went to see the fishes, socatots and busybees!!" hmm

What he means is he is 4 years old (birthday was on Friday), he went to feed the fish (about a week ago!) ,went to Socatots yesterday and Busybees is the name of his playschool. They looked at him as though he were mad and left me feeling so sad sad

I do find he comes out with the repetitive phrases/questions when he tired or anxious and all I can do is reassure him that I love him and give him a cuddle. I try to ignore/distract him away from the phrases and after a while it does work.

Sorry, I don't really know the answer but just wanted you to know that I know where you are coming from, xxx

mumslife Sun 07-Jun-09 20:47:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TotalChaos Sun 07-Jun-09 20:48:26

I agree with Barmymummy, I would respond but try and refocus to a more meaningful conversation and try and figure out what he does want. I see these repeitive things as partly stemming from wanting to say something, but not being sure how to express it, so asking the familiar repititive phrase instead.

Barmy - yes, my DS recently went through a phase of saying "what number are you", rather than "how old are you", obviously they both have recast the question/answer about age to a way that makes sense to them. sad that your family weren't kinder to your DS, my DS also can overinitiate and have a loose grasp of time.

Barmymummy Sun 07-Jun-09 20:53:11

To be fair to them they had no idea about his little quirks and were fine with him after that initial contact but still makes me sad that that was their first impression iykwim. Yes definately agree with "what number are you?" grin

He finds grasping time almost impossible at the moment. He has twigged what 'after' menas now and uses it LOTS lol! Show off wink

Uses the words yesterday, next week, today and tomorrow in his sentences but gets them completely wrong. Am trying hard to teach him 'tomorrow' atm by counting sleeps. 1 sleep = tomorrow. Think its slowly sinking in.

mysonben Sun 07-Jun-09 22:04:19

A tough question this is with no practical answer that comes to my mind.
All i can say is i get the same with my ds , since he has made good progress with his speech for the past 5 months , i /we have had the same questions or phrases trown at us each and every day. His fave ones "what's that noise?" is repetedly asked for every car alarm , siren, plane ,...he hears , although we know ds does know the answers we still reply to him...well most of the time! The same with his ramblining on about his like of cars, lorries or motorbikes , we have heard this for months now , we try to varie our replies by adding different words to try to work on his vocabulary at the same time, kwim?

Widemouthfrog Sun 07-Jun-09 22:33:21

I was told by the speech therapist on Earlybird+ that when a child gets into this repetitive loop, answer them, but say firmly that you will only answer them one more time.
It can work with my DS - he gets stuck in a loop of reptetitive questioning when he is stressed, and sometimes I think he can't stop. It is a relief to him that I say it will stop.
It reminds me of an example from an adult with ASD who could remember exhausting herself on the trampoline when she was a child because she couldn't stop until someone told her, even though she wanted to.
Hope that makes sense. It's been a long day [grin

tiredmummyoftwo Mon 08-Jun-09 10:22:42

We have been told by Salt to ignore when DS does that and so far it has worked. Took a lot of practice on my part to ignore as I automatically replied to shut him up, but in the end, the only thing worked is ignoring. Even now if he gets a reply he carries on, but if he does not he gets the point and moves on. I have noticed that it is mainly when he is tired and stressed, that he repeats.

Peachy Mon 08-Jun-09 10:39:15

Ds3 (almost 6) does that- its quite draining

'where we going?' een when he knows; 'school today?'even at 9pm (!), when daddy going work- he ahsn't done that shift since ealry May and s4 knows he ont again

I asnwer for same reason as you, as ds4 gets yuset if I dont and also I want to reward those tiny inroads of comunicatrion (only questions he really asks) and grab them

troutpout Mon 08-Jun-09 10:55:22

Ds used to say randomly 'i want to go home' when he was at home too. I always thought of it as the same as someone nt saying 'right, now where was i?' or 'anyway....'. Almost like a bit of punctuation for his thoughts. As if he was trying to re-group himself.
He doesn't do it now anyway grin

MumOfThreeMonkeys Mon 08-Jun-09 11:46:36

my dd (almost 5) is the same- some days drives me up the walls, mostly she says "school tomorrow?, work tomorrow?" sometimes not even waiting for an answer. is this echolalia?

ABitStretched Mon 08-Jun-09 16:21:03

troutpout - i have just breathed huge sigh of relief - never thought about it that way. Because 'i want to go home' is such an emotive thing to say I have assumed he is in emotional pain. Thinking about it now I think it actually means 'I'm bit confused' as if I substituted the 2 phrases every time he said it it would make perfect sense. I think it may be a signal he needs a cuddle, some help re-grouping and move on to the next thing.

brokenspacebar Mon 08-Jun-09 16:24:24

I usually turn the question round if ds is a bit "stuck" - so if he asks me a question more than once I ask him it back, once I have answered it the first time.

Peachy Tue 09-Jun-09 08:39:30

I've been thinking about this as ds3 has several sorts of stuck questions which all need dealing with differently

First there's the delusional- 'I built the world'. Now clearly he didn't, but we have had to develop stock answers to it as a denial causes massive breakdown: so it goes:

'I built the world, I bult all the hosues'

we say ' In X'sworld X built all the houses

DS3: 'I didn't build the world.'

'Who built the world?'

'Jesus built the world'

(former CofW schol)

(dont be imrpessed at ther language: it doesnt function that well in non delusional matters, sadly)

Deviating from stock answers causes pointless meltdown and panic for ds1, we just se it as a reassurin stim and now mroe.

Type 2- repetitive demanding stims: the minute ds3 gets in he starts chanting ' I go on puter'.... this obv means he wants his wind down time on wii or computer that is essnetial for bringing him bac after a school day. there's no point using techniques, it won't stop until hebgets his 20 minutes: his brain is like a stuck record and can't progress without the necessary action.

Type 4- reassurance... this is the 'home now' type. We get this every 2 minutes when out, and we simply ignore until it is time to go home. DS1 cant seem to think in steps very ell, so keeps asking the question until it becomes appropriate.

Many repetitivequestions can be dealt with by a picture board I wuld think- if we kept getting a 'what that?' or similar a PECS type device on dispaly might well deal with it,much ike a visual timetable can with other questions. 'school day?' is dealable with like this as you only need a calendar with a tick or cross if your child can process that, though ds3 depends purely n the clothes he is dressed in for that info

Marne Tue 09-Jun-09 12:53:36

We were told at earlybirds, if the child asks a question that you have already answered (say for example 'can i play outside?') you should say 'what do you think mummy is going to say?' (as you have already answered and they know what the answer is going to be). I find this works well with dd1 (AS) and stops her asking again and again.

sc13 Tue 09-Jun-09 13:14:57

Lots of advice already; ime (DS does this a little) the first thing you want to do, like some of the other mums say, is try and understand what the purpose/function of his talking is. This may take some time and observation. If you think it's a stim, then do what you find works for him with stims - let him do it for a bit and then call time out, distract or re-direct to some other activity he likes. If you think he's actually trying to communicate something, you'll have to try and interpret the echolalia - my DS for instance says 'She's coming' when he wants me not to go away because once when I went away and he was upset he was told 'she's coming', that sort of thing. Then you can respond appropriately and (this from the SALT) perhaps model the 'correct' thing to say (in my DS's case, something like 'I want mummy')

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