The Value of Communication in Non-Verbal Children…

Autism Potential

Growing up in a world where communication is predominantly verbal your life changes dramatically when your child diagnosed with Autism is non-verbal…

You discover how much broader communication is and that there is more ways beyond verbal communication to get your message across to people when you need to…  It also shows us that the world is still narrow minded to the diversity that exists within all our communities and how we need to increase the knowledge shared to create greater inclusion and acceptance of all people globally no matter what their situation may be…

When your child is non-verbal, all this simply means is that your child is not able to communicate in the typical way most of us do.  It means they use alternative means to communicate their needs which will vary with everyone you meet… For many children on all levels it starts with the sounds, screaming and tantrums when they are little, as behaviour is also communication.  It is there way of saying I want something, but the challenge with ASD children who are non-verbal is, there is a lot of frustration as your child gets older and they cannot express what they want without it taking longer or them not getting the outcome they wanted, which is what we experienced with our son who has Autism.

This meant looking at ways to assist our him to communicate with us and others to reduce the frustration he was experiencing.  This included key word signing (previously known as Makaton), picture exchange communication (PECS – using pictures to request items he wanted), Proloquo2go (a program available via itunes that allows children to communicate in sentences by using images that talk for you), along with him using gestures to express his requirements which can be reflected out of frustration or satisfaction depending on the situation… Getting his message across has never been an issue it is more the fact that we often did not understand our son and with providing these options it has made life a lot easier as it allowed us to turn an obstacle into an opportunity.

Having a non-verbal child has meant us learning these new skills ourselves to help encourage our son to communicate in the same way… It has meant working out what some things would mean when we had no idea. It has meant having to remain focused on the big picture even when things weren’t working knowing that his frustration is only a response to the way he is feeling.  Not always has he been able to express the way he feels in the most appropriate way, but when I reflect on how much he has improved over the years it changes everything.

No matter what others have said over the years I have always believed one day we will unlock all the pieces to his communication and he will have a conversation with us all. In the meantime I do believe the journey he has taken is lesson orientated for more than just him and me.  It’s about educating others on the value that he has, to contribute to the world in the way he does without changing who he is for the benefit of everyone else…

It’s about seeing the potential that exists within every one of these children and how they can share the joy they experience through learning a different way to communicate but also how we can learn from them too as our son has shown us so much by us introducing him to technology… His ability is beyond us in so many areas.  The things he has shown us, created and initiated by having access to technology has had more value than I could have imagined when I first introduced him to using the computer to play educational games…

Communication in today’s world is way beyond the verbal context that we have all grown to know and I feel it’s time that everyone globally grasps that these ASD children have so much more to offer than you can see.  When you begin to unwrap the gifts that exist within each of these children and adults by providing them with doors to open and ways to share the knowledge and skills they possess, you just never know as one day they may just change the world in a way that we never thought possible with these gifts…