Autistic Ramblings: Could it be a Possible Stim?

by J

S was just 7 months when I first seriously considered that he might have autism. I remember the day exactly… the exact moment that it hit me. It was two years today.

Over the past two years, S has had a series of ups and downs… progressions and regressions. The progressions are always celebrated to the max, and the regressions always strike a fear in me that I cannot describe. Overall though, he has made outstanding progress and I often just marvel at how resilient and amazing our little man can be.

Lately though, S has started having some odd verbal behaviors. A speech and language pathologist came and observed him and has decided to add speech consult to his IFSP once a month. I told her about some of his random ‘statements’ he will make. For instance, one day we were on the elevator and a woman (stranger) complemented S on his hat… “I like your hat”. His response? “Need to reboot the apple TV”. WTF? The SLP didn’t seem to concerned about these types of ill placed statements, and simply said that he could be at a loss for an appropriate response, or, he might want to watch TV. Either way, she didn’t seem concerned. (as an aside, he now makes this statement every time we enter this particular elevator- no other elevators, just the one)

However, now these statements have turned to ramblings. It started at night. It used to be that while trying to fall asleep, S would flop and kick and flail and thrash for an hour or two until he fell out. Now, now he rambles.

Then, today, he started rambling during the day and I’m worried he is beginning to regress again. It really ramped up after a 25 minute meltdown he had today. Even my husband was concerned when he saw him. S had a glazed look in his eyes and a far off stare. And, he would just ramble… “kitty cat doesn’t have no tv… doggie goes arp arp… S snuggles blanken goes arp arp”. He also ‘meows’ frequently throughout the day… From the time he wakes up until the time he goes to bed. I would say that he meows for several minutes during each hour, if not more. Sometimes he will not answer questions, like what he wants for breakfast or what he wants to drink, because he is meowing. The meowing has been going on for a few weeks now, but the rambling is new. I’m not sure if this is a form of stimming or not.

I’m not sure what to make of it. It is in this light voice, that is almost a whisper. He sounds dazed, looks distant and makes absolutely no sense. I also noticed that he was using double negatives… which we do not ever use in the house… “kitty  doesn’t have no water”… definitely a speech pattern I have not heard him use before.

Then, as I was changing him for bed, I connected some of the ramblings. We frequently read “The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein. Tonight he was rambling “Sorry S, I don’t have any apples… I don’t have leaves… Sorry S, I don’t have a boat”. These are parts of the book, though, we have never interjected our son’s name into the story line… but he apparently has. I’m not sure if I should worry about this or not, but it is hard not to. It seems like just as I begin to feel comfortable with S’s autism, I begin to let my gard down a bit and start to feel our family is somewhat normal, something always pops up to remind me that there is nothing normal about autism.

So, I guess I will bring this up to S’s new SLP this week, and she what she has to say. He starts his weekly OT this week and that could not come at a better time. All of the sudden, he is snubbing baths, teeth brushing and hair combing. My kid is starting to get a little crusty.

In the meantime though, I will just hug him and love him and snuggle him as much as he will let me. Hopefully if I hold on tight enough, he won’t slip away.