Scripts. These can be wonderful…and sometimes absolutely maddening. The more I really pat attention to Tate’s speech, the more I see just how many scripts my little man is using. In so many ways he has made his scripts work for him. To the casual bystander, he’s answering questions appropriately. We know that he’s relying on a script, but it gets the job done and is socially acceptable.
He has many scripts for saying hello and goodbye. He has scripts for when he’s had enough. He has scripts for when he needs more. He has some for being silly. He has a few for when he’s eating. And a few for when we’re cleaning. And he has some that he uses when the anxiety takes hold and he can’t try to hold it together any more. Right now, these are the scripts that are taking over our lives. There’s one about bugs. And one about worms. And ever since our neighbor kid used half a roll of toilet paper in our toilet and backed it up, there’s one about flushing the potty. These particular scripts have been around for a while…but they are starting to interfere with his pragmatic and spontaneous speech.
For instance, at school, he is asked to read the sight words in his book. In one of the book’s pictures, there is a worm in an apple. Game. Over. Instead of focusing on the words, which is hard with all of the background noise, fellow classmates reading, and other outside stimuli, Tate gets overwhelmed. His anxiety starts to take over. Suddenly, he’s transported back to an unseasonably warm day last spring. He and I were the only two awake on a Saturday afternoon. I took him outside. We had a terrific time…a terrific time digging for worms. He uses this script so often, that I know it by heart. He even changes his voice for my “part”.
Look, Mom, it’s a worm. A big worm.
Ohhh, Tate. That’s great. That’s so cool. Good job, Tate.
Mom, I, I don’t want to touch it. You put it in the bucket.
Here, Tate. I’ll do it. There we goooo…
Several times during his ABA sessions he breaks out a script about bugs. He has a few different ones. He has a love-hate relationship with bees, ants, and just about anything creepy and crawly. There are usually no visuals or words that cause the bug scripts to pop out…but we have it narrowed down to activities that make him feel anxious. When he’s asked to do his counting. When he’s asked to do his sight words. When he’s asked to do a worksheet from school. When he’s asked to read his weekly poem from school.
Bees! Shoo, shoo, shoo, shoo, bees!!! No bees! Bees are stinky.
OUCH! Bees! Don’t touch the bees!
Ewww. Gross. Bee bugs.
Ants! Look at all of these ants.
The ants are everywhere. Ewww. Gross. I hate ants.
This morning Tate woke up and came into our room. First things out of his mouth were scripts about flushing the toilet. It is a script that I use when one of our boys (or our neighbor child) forget to flush after using the bathroom. He went on about flushing the toilet for 5 minutes before Hubz took over and took him downstairs. Oy vey.
Guys, don’t forget to flush, guys.
When we poop in the potty, we need to flush it, ok? It gets stinky.
Eww…what’s that smell?! Ohhh, it’s poops. Flush the poops. (Ok, that is one of Tate’s lines…NOT mine.)
Tate is scripting during his free moments. He scripts while playing with his DS. He scripts while vacuuming. He scripts while taking a bath. He scripts in the car while we are on our way to therapy, the store, church, family member’s houses, etc. The scripting, while it can be functional, is currently a problem. We have to redirect so often to get useful info out of him. Our verbal prompting is through the roof.
I’m starting to wonder if we’ll ever see improved functional speech again. These are the moments that are trying and exhausting. These are the moments where I wonder if I am harming him by letting him script so much…or if I’m harming him by interrupting the script and asking him to answer my questions/give me his input. Am I missing something? I’m so desperately searching for the hidden meaning behind his bug scripts..or his worm scripts while we’re in the car, or watching a show, or eating dinner and ask him how his day went. *sigh*
Anyone want to pass me the script for this so I know how it turns out???