What might have triggered my autistic daughter to use another idiomatic expression for the first time today (after doing so twice, few days prior)?

After several hours of working on clearing off my desk of clutter and setting up a system to track new habits for both all of us (cleaning and chores that aren't getting done) and for my autistic daughter Anna specifically (academic stuff she need to repeat over and over like she does in DuoLingo Chinese), having already created such a list for myself as part of my 2024 resolutions to build new habits to support everything I want to accomplish (inspired by the books Tiny Habits, Atomic Habits, and Extreme Ownership I listened to on Audible, and that famous Admiral's speech on starting every day making your bed), rather than relying on willpower, including her in a bunch of the work such as labeling and formatting our chore checklist, she suddenly used an idomatic expresion she has never used before, telling me, "I don't want Tom feeding me words in[to?] my mouth". 

For a few seconds I was trying to figure out what she meant, mostly focusing what her brother had said to make her seem frustrated and complaining, before realizing that more importantly had, like a few days ago (see post of when she used two new verbs on the same day), was using an expression she never had before.  On further discussion, she really meant something more akin to "to shove down someones throat" referring to when he tries to get her to learn a science or math topic way beyond her interest/ ability etc. which sometimes happens, referring to someone trying to force words into her.  I thought maybe she invented the expression similar to ours, which is just as good or perhaps better, but when I asked her, after originally pointing out I thought she meant the "put words into my mouth", where she learned the expression she had misstated prior, she said "from you" meaning me, and when I asked if she just learned it right now from what I said or a while back, she said "from a while back".  

I have noticed when I've engaged with Anna to create formatted pages where regular measurements had to be made to make a visually regular and pleasingly tidy chart, as in this case where she had to measure 3/8" across from a list of chores and make a mark near the top and bottom of the lined section, then draw lined connecting them, to construct each of 15 or 16 vertical lines creating a column of checkboxes, she was sligtly cognitively higher functioning the next day, but perhaps this was the result of having done some of this work today.  This afternoon I also had her note new events happening today on the calendar date, and start writing out the days-of-the-month song that she still doesn't have down, nor the number of days in months, months in year, etc. I was going to have her write all the months, then their 3-letter abbreviation, then draw lines across to the 30, 31 or 28/29 day lettering, then write month names in the correct columns to the side under a "30", "31" and "28/29" columns.  She had written out the sentence once with numbers in all numeric words and then I am having her rewrite it with the lettered form of each number substituted so she can do both translation number to letter and back again, as an additional skill.  

These calendaring activities are the result of Anna saying completely shocking answers to questions like,

"how many days in a year",

"how many days in a month?",

"how many days in a week?",

"how many months in a year?", 

"how many hours in a day?"

"how many weeks in a month?"

she has sometimes gotten them right, then sometimes interchanged answers, such as saying to "how many days in a year?" 12, or 7, or 30, and not responding or retaining "365" even after being asked and given the answer to that question several times in the prior five or ten minutes, demonstrating she totally doesn't understand these terms intuitively in a solid way yet. 

Again, I'm hoping to figure out whether Anna's improvement in language in these small bursts happening so close together (see post from two days ago, Jan 20, 2024).  Are they the result of two new brain/ cognition support supplements (citicoline and ginkgo gummies), the reduced-lectin diet per Dr Stephen Gundry, our Chinese language learning with Duo Lingo now over two years daily, or other ABM (Anat Baniel Method) or ABM-like lessons, sometimes I've invented for a particular challenge and context (possible for me, being that I'm an ABM practitioner), or are these particular activities and engagement such as creating labels, helping make this formatted chore list / chart, having her repair the corner of a folder with the publishing/ers plastic glue, and other engaging activities with me for a few hours separately triggering improvement separately or possibly in combination with the prior factors? 

I apologize I haven't kept posting many times Anna started using new expressions here and there over the last two years while doing DuoLingo Chinese and occasional ABM lessons, so compare with prior to the supplements, reduced-Lectin diet and these activities she seems primed to learn from when done as a regular daily habit, but I will be doing so going forward.  Hopefully the improvements continue and I'll continue to post.  Consider following to be notified with each new post. 






Barbara Rose

A mom finds happiness and a way around her own limitations through helping her autistic daughter recover.


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