Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Verbal Stimming

"Chevy, Ikea, police, one, two, Madagascar, sound puzzle, no sound puzzle, sound puzzle, sound puzzle, sound puzzle, sound puzzle, sound puzzle, UPS, Starfall, no Starfall, 'ch' computer, no 'ch' computer, digraphs, computer, moving truck, dirty towel, 8 big rigs, one, two, no one two, Shea bun ponytail, bun, no bun, Jessica bun ponytail, jump, no jump, specials, specials, specials, work, no work, blue truck, blue truck, check it out, Chevy, LG, LG, LG, LG, LG, LG, Uniden, phone, phone, leaves, leaves, leaves, no windows, no windows, no windows, no windows, glass, big can, drop floor, no drop floor, ATT, blue car, no blue car, bus, bus, bus, bus, bus, bus, bus, bus, bus, bus, bus, bus, Tonka, no Tonka, wrecker, wrecker, wrecker, wrecker, wrecker, wrecker, wrecker, ATT, ATT, ATT..."

This, my friends, is what we like to call "verbal stimming."  These chains of rambling words and phrases are what Gabe says for lengthy periods of time.  These random (or not so random to him) words offer the rest of us a glimpse into what is going on in Gabe's overloaded mind.  

Bruno and I have a friend that is in a band.  This young man has Autism.  He is obviously very high functioning as he has been able to be so successful thus far in his life.  He attended UT, is engaged to be married, and plays bass in a band that has just signed with a major record label.  He gives us great hope as to what is possible in our own son's future!  He also is able to offer us insight into what is going through Gabe's mind as he sometimes rambles on and on with these lengthy chains of disjointed words.  Our friend says that when he was younger, around Gabe's age, his brain felt like electricity as thoughts raced through at such a rapid pace that nothing made sense.  He often felt exhausted from being unable to slow his brain down.  He says that until he was introduced to music, specifically playing a musical instrument, at the age of 6, nothing made sense to him and he was unable to communicate with others.  

I appreciate our friend's explanation of what it felt like at Gabe's age to have these racing thoughts.  It helps me to better understand how my son must feel and I hurt for him.  I am not sure that music will be Gabe's outlet like it was for our friend, but Gabe does receive music therapy from his school and we are seriously considering giving Gabe music lessons of some sort in the near future.  

We have received advice from several of Gabe's therapists on how to try to redirect his ramblings into more functional language.  We do attempt this often, but his stimming occurs so frequently that it is nearly impossible to do this every time.  Also, I think we frustrate him when we redirect him and at times my "mommy instinct" tells me this is not the correct approach.  Our new DAN doctor heard Gabe's verbal stimming when we recently had our initial evaluation and he immediately wondered about a strep/PANDAS connection.  (For those unfamiliar with PANDAS, there is a link to better explain it in the sidebar of this blog.)  If testing shows that this in fact may be a possibility for Gabe, there are treatment options available to possibly help lessen the verbal stimming.  We should find this out in the next few weeks.  

For now, I will try to find the positives when I can and one huge positive is that not too long ago Gabe was not verbal enough to pair words with these racing thoughts.  Now that his language has improved so greatly, I at least have an idea of what he is going through and thinking about.  

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