I often hear relatives of “non-verbal” children with autism commenting that they don’t think their kids understand. I am hear to tell you they do.
My parents have always spoken to me like a regular kid – no baby talk or dumbed down language. Sometimes I feel for kids who’s parents have been led to believe that baby talk is appropriate. They never get treated with respect.
All my life I have worked harder than anyone to communicate my wants and needs. Happy to always be a hard worker, but exhausting for everyone. My body now has stuck patterns of behaviour from those times I did not communicate with Mommy doing the letter board – 12 years of 100% working my butt off just to get some mango.
Don’t get me wrong, Mommy buster her buns with love so I could use my voice to ask for food. Having that has helped us a lot.
However, I sometimes wish I had learned to spell to communicate sooner.
We all have language, we just can’t speak. So “non-verbal” is an inaccurate label, almost as ridiculous and demeaning as low-functioning (but I will save that rant for another day).
My biggest wish is for non, minimally, and unreliably speaking people to be always joyfully respected and justifiably included.