Lack Of Inference Is Why My Autistic Kid Has Poor Social Skills

There are several reasons why my autistic kid has poor social skills. A lack of inference skills is just one reason. But it’s a pretty big reason. It also doesn’t help that he has way below average language skills. Kid never picked up a mothertongue. He’s been working with a speech therapist and learning how to infer.

What is inference?

Ayub has trouble with inference. He can’t read between the lines, doesn’t understand jokes, takes everything literally. It’s not a bad thing. But it makes it hard for him to communicate effectively with other people.

For example, this happened the other day:

Sulaiman: Mama, Ayub hit me!

Me: Ayub, why’d you hit Sulaiman?

Ayub: Because he’s so annoying.

Me: You can’t hit people, no matter how annoying they are.

Ayub: But I want him to stop being annoying.

Me: If you try to stop people from being annoying like that, the only thing that would happen is you’d end up with a broken hand.

What do you understand from my last statement? For me, it’s pretty obvious that I meant there are so many annoying people in the world that you’d be smacking them all, nothing would change, and you’d end up with a broken hand. Ok, I know, not a great parenting moment. I’m not a great parent.

My point is, Ayub didn’t get that. I skipped the details. People who are not on the spectrum are able to pick up on the meaning, they can infer what I’m talking about, without me having to outline it.

How does an autistic kid get the message?

Here’s the sequence that Ayub needs in order to understand a message:

A – If you try to stop people from being annoying…

B – By hitting them…

C – Nothing good would come of it…

D – And you’d just end up with a broken hand…

E – Because you used it to hit everyone.

So many words to explain the same message. But that’s what Ayub is struggling with now. Or rather, he’s been struggling with it since he was a baby and I only now understand it because his therapists explained it to me.

You can see how this makes it really hard for him to hold and participate in conversations. One-on-ones are tough as it is. When he’s in a group situation, he’s just completely lost. Too many messages, not enough words, too many words, only one message.

What’s the solution?

His teacher whatsapped me to let me know he had homework to do. When I asked him about it, he had no idea what I was talking about. I just know the homework assignment was given during “Circle Time” where all the kids sit together and have a class discussion. Ayub can’t do class discussions. Which is extra difficult because his school teaching method is centered around the kids leading class discussions.

I’m rambling again. I’m worried again. Step-by-step, girl.

I spoke to his teacher who will be giving him his homework assignment again today, but this time she will be explaining it to him one-on-one. Hopefully he will understand.

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Laila Zain

Laila is a working mama who married young, had two beautiful boys, went through a shitty divorce, met an amazing man, remarried, and had a beautiful girl. Her eldest boy is a rainbow baby and special needs child. Her second is ridiculously smart. Her baby is a baby.

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