Let me begin this post by stating that nothing written here is intended to make fun of Martin. This is a post about language, oral stimming, perseveration, and behaviors that, for the most part, are not within Martin’s control. Although some of the verbal stream I’m conveying may, in retrospect, come across as amusing, when this is happening—when Martin is saying these things, nonstop—nothing sounds funny. When Martin is saying these things, nonstop, I could never laugh because I am too busy trying to keep my head from exploding.

Martin has been talking a blue streak this week. I’ve written about this phenomenon before, when Martin starts speaking and cannot stop. It happens most in the morning. It used to be that Martin would repeat one statement, or one statement and several variations on that statement. As his language and other skills have improved, he’s broadened the repertoire. Now when he can’t stop talking, he cycles through many familiar topics.

During breakfast one morning this week, when Martin and I were alone in the kitchen, I tried to capture his monologue. (I call it a monologue because I seldom interjected. I struggle with deciding to what I should respond, especially when Martin wants attention more than an answer.) Through a combination of recording, scribbling, and recalling after-the-fact, I was able to transcribe the following. This is not verbatim, I’m sure, but it’s close:

When I grow up I am going to live by myself. I don’t want to have any roommates. I am going to be a man who has horns. I am going to have long hair. Mommy, when I grow up I am going to eat peanut butter Lära bars. Do they still play concerts in Central Park? Can we go there? I want to go there. I’m not going to school today. Is it your birthday? Mommy, whose birthday is it? Your brother Rudy and your niece Mandy have the same birthday. How old did Uncle Rudy turn on his birthday? Mommy, Uncle Rudy turned 47 and my cousin Mandy turned six. Mommy, how old are you? You are 42 years old. Do all kids have middle names? Do you have to practice to be a crucifer? I’m going to be a crucifer when I’m in middle school. I’m never going to be a crucifer. I’m never going to school again. You should move out. Go! I’m going to live alone. I want you to be my mommy forever. Is Daddy going to keep going to work? When you were with Miss Cara and Miss Eileen and Miss Tomomi during my play date, what did you do? I want your family to have another baby. Are many of my friends only children? Are all of them? In the eighth picture about the fireplace, are you holding me when I’m a baby? When you were a child, was it allowed for children to ride in the passenger seat? You married your husband in 2005.

Martin said all this, almost without pause, as he was sitting at the kitchen table drinking (or, as it were, not drinking) his bone broth. I’m never quite sure what sets Martin to nonstop talking, or whether a monologue like this is oral stimming, perseveration, attention-seeking behavior, anxiety, or some combination thereof. I’m frustrated when this happens, to be sure. I survive by focusing on Martin’s language skills. Do you remember when I was overjoyed that he managed to say, “I want you to do that again”? Compare that with the perfect sentences structures Martin rattled off this week. Those sentences were perseveration, and he could not slow down, but at least he had the words.

At least he had the words.

5 thoughts on “Chatty

  1. When that happens to my son, it is because his methylation process is off in his brain. We increase the methyl B-12 for a couple days and all is well. He used to talk so much and so fast that I would go a little bit stir crazy trying to process his thoughts. 🙂

    • Interesting. We did mB-12 shots for months and months, with no apparent changes. But that was three years ago. Sometimes it is worth it to circle back to a previous treatment and see whether now is the “right time.” I will put mB-12 on the “discuss with doctor” list.

  2. I’ve been addicted to your blog for a few days now as there are similarities between our stories. My daughter is 6, on the spectrum and I’m 42. Her diet is super clean and I did a year of NAET, continue to do brain-reorganization exercises with her, do ABA three times a week. Just this year we got her into general Ed. with resource pullout. She’s mostly able to keep up with academics, but has lot of weaknesses too( comprehension, etc.). She is in so many ways similar to Martin. The sentences that stand out to me in Martin’s ramblings are the two sentences where he says he’s not going to school. You also mentioned that this perseveration happens mostly in the morning( before school? & probably not on weekends?). My guess is he’s trying to cope with some anxiety about school. Our daughter talks a lot too when she’s trying to cope with something. I try to sit & talk to get to the bottom of her anxiety, though we’re not always successful.
    Love your blog. Keep it up:)

    • That’s a great thought, Sumana. I’ve often thought that Martin’s morning dawdling and perseveration were related to just waking up, or to his morning supplements. On the other hand, he could indeed be trying to cope with school anxiety. I’ve also noticed that mornings are improving, somewhat. At the same time, he’s becoming more social. He had a terrific class play date this past weekend. Maybe as his relationships with his classmates improve, the morning behaviors will lessen? I’m going to keep an eye on that. Congrats on your daughter in gen ed! Are you happy to have made that leap? Does it feel like she’s getting more out of school now? (Was she in a self-contained class before?)

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