When talking doesn't come naturally...
Believe me, I'm a chatterbox. I like to talk a lot!. That my wonderful little guy doesn't really speak with me, and has never said "mama" really hurts quite a lot. At six years old it's really tough, and quite early on we took him to speech therapy.
Sitting still and carrying out assignments is a difficult task due to his autism and intellectual disability. He does not understand what is expected of him. The processing of the 'question' is too difficult.
It is not that he is 'quiet', on the contrary! Sounds, shouts and cries are produced throughout the day, but the words remain hidden away somewhere.
How can we stimulate him to make contact? This is the beginning of communication. He loves cookies and the first exercise with the speech therapist for coaxing communication is to hold out his hand, make eye contact with her, and receive his little cookie reward.
Pictures, motions, and gestures
There are multiple means of communication and pictograms, motions and gestures are also used to promote communication. The use of icons is still too difficult for my son but the motions and gestures work well. For example, pointing at a cup when he is thirsty, or at his diaper when he needed it changed.
I think he understands spoken language reasonably well, but simply cannot utilise it himself. Because he needs more 'processing time', the motions and gestures make the communication and what 'we expect from him' / 'what we are going to do' a lot clearer for him.
Meanwhile he takes us to the kitchen or fridge if he wants something to eat or drink and he takes his shoes off the doormat if he wants to go outside.
The expectation of the specialists is that our son will never talk. But this is hard to say for sure. I am convinced that there is enough power in that blonde head but that the 'fog' is too thick. We can reach him and he happily understands more and more. We continue to use the various ways of communicating and stimulate communication. This is an ongoing process, and he sees the speech therapist every week.
We will see what the future will bring and which means of communication will be used. If there is ever a word from his mouth, it will be music to my ears. And if it's "mama" I don't think I'll ever come down from heaven.
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