Tuesday, February 9, 2010


: continuation of something (as repetition of a word) usually to an exceptional degree or beyond a desired point (Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary)

“For males with Fragile X, the primary language difficulty is perseveration. Perseveration is the inability to complete a sentence because of continuous repetition of words at the end of a phrase. Another language-based behavior displayed by males with Fragile X is talking inappropriately and incessantly about one topic. This particular difficulty distinguishes males with Fragile X from individuals with other forms of mental retardation or autism.” (“Facts About Fragile X Syndrome” from the Child Development Institute)

We noticed from the time Clark was young until right this minute that he perseverates, “beyond a desired point.” Wanting to go to Idaho with us (“You don’t care! post on January 31, 2010) is an example. He really likes motor homes. A good friend gave him motor home catalogues a number of years ago. He would pour over them and then one day a daughter and I were deep cleaning his room and gave them away without his permission. I wish I could go back and redo that sad decision. One year our family took a two-day trip in a motor home just for Clark. He continues to talk about motor homes and can’t wait until he can buy one (in the Millennium we constantly remind him).

When one of our sons moved out of the country he asked if we would keep his treadmill until he and his family return in three years. We consented and have been pleasantly surprised at how much use it has gotten. Clark gets on it most days, three miles an hour at an incline, but Phil only sporadically uses it. One morning after I had been out of the house I checked on Clark and found he had been on the treadmill for 80 minutes. That’s perseveration in action. Most days it is 30-45 minutes.

In preparation for our conference (Fragile X Association of Washington State) in 1 ½ weeks we are sending out a newsletter which contains articles and a reminder of the conference. Clark is a great help as he sits for hours putting on address labels and stamps and then folding the newsletters into thirds and stuffing them into envelopes. I have gone to bed before and left him sitting at a desk working on this project and also have found him there the next morning as he began a new day. Perseveration isn’t always annoying or trying.

Pregnant Pip works at the computer while Clark puts on address labels.

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