Friday, March 25, 2005

Sinus of the Times

Bud has spent the last 24 hours talking through his nose. I don't know where he got it. I don't think he's copying anyone, actually; I think he just discovered that he has the ability to change the pitch and tone of his voice. He's actually discovered two variations - one with the nostrils constricted, and one with them flared. And now that he has made the discovery, he has decided to talk exclusively in that voice.

He sounds a little like Lily Tomlin's telephone operator character Ernestine ("Is this the party to whom I am speaking?") But mostly he sounds like he's got a significant hearing impairment. Couple that with the fact that he has such an eccentric speech pattern to begin with (echolalic phrases strung together to approximate the correct meaning with a totally atypical syntax), and he is mostly unintelligble to anyone outside the family.

Like most kids with ASD, Bud doesn't let go of things quickly. He is grooving on this nasal speech and is settling into a comfortable pattern of usage. I'm at a loss as to how to steer him away from it. I tried ignoring it, and it just persisted. I tried positive reinforcement for using his normal voice. Last night he wanted ice cream for dessert, and I told him I'd be happy to get it for him if he asked in his regular voice. He opted to forego the ice cream. Currently, I'm feigning ignorance and telling him that I can't understand what he's saying when he talks that way and urging him to "try again." No luck there either.

I think it's going to be a long weekend.

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