Social Question

Dutchess_III's avatar

What would your reaction be to something like this?

Asked by Dutchess_III (36374points) February 13th, 2012

I recently met a young woman who has a son who is mildly autistic and who has a speech impediment. You know how we sometimes repeat our children’s comments or questions back to them? Like, the kid says, “I want a cookie!”
And you say, “You want a cookie!? What are you going to do with that cookie?!”
You kind of start a dialogue that way.
Well, this child said, “I aut a gwas ov juoth!”
And Mom said, “You aut a gwas ov juoth?!”
I was completely FLOORED.
I don’t understand.
Why would someone do that instead of repeating it back clearly, especially to a child with a speech impediment?

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32 Answers

BeccaBoo's avatar

Either the child is by-lingual or the mother is trying to show a level of understanding to her child.

Maybe they have their own special language, hey to each there own!

Response moderated (Flame-Bait)
Aethelflaed's avatar

Maybe she wants him to know that she accepts his speech patterns as valid, and that she understand him (assuming she does).

JLeslie's avatar

I think I would be inclined to say it back correctly. I know very little about speech impediments though. I don’t understand how it helps the child to have a secret language with his mom. Even if he has trouble pronouncing, it is probably important he can understand standard English from others. At the same time, many children grow up with their first language a foreign one, and then playing with friends and once in school they learn English. But, having a speech difficulty is different. Sometimes it is recommended to only use one language when the child has a difficulty, so they can do their best to master the one.

rebbel's avatar

Is it: “I want a glass of juice”?

keobooks's avatar

What if they both had the same speech impediment? Did you ever see the movie “Nell” with Jodie foster? Her character spoke in a really odd way because her mother had a stroke and was the only one who taught her to talk.

Ehh.. I dunno.. When my daughter says something I can’t understand, I will sometimes repeat it back verbatim because it helps me figure out what she tried to say.

Who knows what goes on in the minds of strangers sometimes?

Jude's avatar

I thought that my response was wonderful and rather appropriate. Carry on. :)

Dutchess_III's avatar

LOL @Jude! It weren’t you!
I should clarify…the child is 4 years old and in preschool. Among his other activities he is a class to help clarify his speech. His Mom and I have had discussions and she doesn’t have an impediment.
It just seemed so counter productive. I don’t think she even thought about what she was doing….

rebbel's avatar

I can understand your feeling about it, @Dutchess_III.
Because I have experienced that parents said to people who were talking back gibberish to their child to quit doing it because they were afraid that that would stimulate the child keep on talking that way/not learn ‘normal’ speech.

YARNLADY's avatar

My reaction would be surprise, but I don’t know them well enough to make any kind of judgement.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Exactly @rebbel . Later on the child said something to me and I repeated it back clearly, in the form of a question. I noticed that Mom did the same after that, at least while I was there. I just didn’t understand why someone would do that.

saint's avatar

Just another syle of parenting. Nobody I know has ever gotten the parenting role exactly right including me. And the sun comes up tomorrow…

Dutchess_III's avatar

You don’t have kids @saint! In this case I don’t think it’s a deliberate “style.” I think she just wasn’t thinking.

saint's avatar

@Dutchess_III I do have kids. I don’t agree with the mother in question, but then again people in my former neighborhood disapproved of me (and bitched at me personally) because I did not make my kids wear a helmet when they rode their bikes and because I taught them how to defend themselves in case somebody tried to physically bully them (a skill they never had to use by the way). Outside of atrocities like physical abuse, it all a matter of style.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I thought you were still in High School @saint. Sorry!

bkcunningham's avatar

“I want a glass of juice.” Yes, I think that is what was said.

If I had witnessed that transpire, it would have been one of those things I was talking about and wondering what others thought about as well. Of course it wasn’t a proper way to improve the child’s speech impediment. At least it isn’t a form of therapy I’ve ever encountered or that I’m aware is used. Maybe it is something new.

@Dutchess_III, I made the same mistake with @saint awhile back. He’s a very intelligent young man.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Yes, he wanted a glass of juice.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

This is one of those things where if you’re not in it, you probably don’t get it.

Dutchess_III's avatar

No, I don’t get it @Simone_De_Beauvoir. I’ve never agreed with people talking baby talk to their kids, and especially not in this case, talking speech impediment talk to a kid who has a speech impediment that the schools are trying to soften. Presumably with Mom’s permission.

JLeslie's avatar

@keobooks That makes sense.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@JLeslie With an 18 month old old, yes. With a four year old, when I, a stranger, understood what he was asking, no.

JLeslie's avatar

@Dutchess_III Just maybe it was one of those moments? And, listening in for a snippet is not enough to make any assumptions or judgements? Or, did it go on for an entire conversation, and you only gave us one example?

Dutchess_III's avatar

It just struck me as very curious, that’s all. No, there was no “entire conversation” because most four year olds don’t have entire conversations on their own. He wanted a glass of juice, and he asked for it. Mom repeated the request exactly as he said it. It was odd for a kid who is in speech class to, apparently, have his speech issues reinforced by his parent.

bkcunningham's avatar

It strikes me as odd too.

JLeslie's avatar

@Dutchess_III Yeah, I found it odd orginally too, but with such limited exposure to the interaction between the child and mom, we might be overthinking it is all I am saying.

captainsmooth's avatar

The boy had a thought in his mind and was speaking it. Mom may have been repeating what he said to increase his awareness of how he actually sounds, as opposed to how he thinks he sounds. BTW-I am a speech therapist.

bkcunningham's avatar

Maybe she was repeating it to try and figure out what he was saying. Perhaps she said it outloud in an attempt to form his sounds into real words. That is what I did when I read your original post.

Coloma's avatar

I used very little baby talk with my daughter, other than calling a few of her items by the names she called them as a toddler, namely her blanket that she called “me me” and which arose from her, obviously, saying “me me” and grasping for it when I went to hand it to her when she around age one.
“The green me me” was her favorite comfort item and was called that for years til she gave it up.

Which came about because she had 2 identical blankets, one pink and one green and “green me me” was the blanket of choice. lol
I am a highly verbal and articulate type and so is my daughter, who knows what motivates people and their strange quirks, but, I am not a fan of excessive baby talk with children at all.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@bkcunningham But I knew what he was saying! Surely Mom knew..

@captainsmooth OK, that kind of makes sense, but would it have been more effective to repeat it the way he said it, then repeat the way it’s supposed to sound?

I’m not a fan of goo goo talk either @Coloma, but some of the cuter things just stick, like your “green me.” :) . When my grandaughter was 2 she would call ‘squirrels” “squirids.” And “squirids” they are, to this day! She corrects us though. :(
We still use a lot of the things the way the kids said them when they were little. Sometimes it might be, “Oh! I like it that!!” Things like that.

bkcunningham's avatar

Oh, I forgot you said his language was clear enought that you knew what he was saying, @Dutchess_III. I was just attempting to understand why she would do something that, to me at least, seems really strange and counter productive on the surface.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Seems that way to me too, @bkcunningham. It makes me wonder if she might be part of the cause…?

Coloma's avatar

@Dutchess_III Haha…yes, a few stuck here too. Gotta have a couple silly names. :-)

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