Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Nonverbal Child

One of the biggest challenges that I’ve faced with Meghan, as opposed to Nick, was that she is nonverbal (here). I've tried and tried to get her to say words—and she would try and maybe say one word, but it was just too tough for her; some verbal approximations and nonverbal gestures are about all she had/has for communication skills, besides—tantrums, screams, pulling hair and biting—ouch!

We use(d) (PECS) communication books and augmentative communication devices (here) —3— to be exact. The only problem with the devices (electronic output) were that they were prone to breaking or malfunction (hence, "3"), especially if…um, the child is a little rough with it—like flinging it across the room—uh-huh!

Most of her tantrums were, of course, due to frustration; not being understood would send anyone over the edge—and I think Meghan was just better at it than most! I do remember when she was 3 and 4—and one of her favorite movies was Charlotte’s Web. I remember seeing her smile when the farm animals were talking and singing. I would sit back and watch her and wondered what she was thinking: huh, the farm animals can talk but I can’t?

How articulate that pig;
what a vocab the goose;
even the goslings repartee
—how hilarious?

Communication Disorder--this is the diagnosis--social inept. The component that make us come together: dismantled, impaired, incurable. The need still holds true for her, nonetheless: acceptance, friendships, relationships; camaraderie, closeness, love. We all need it, even the love incapable. I have always wondered who will rescue her for this right and save her from the lonely damage, other than her mother, father or brother? The promises come from and for her brother already. He has the personality—the skills to rescue himself; he will make it through the lonesome scare.

I wonder if her thumb will always be there?

I can only think that she enjoys communication of all sorts; I believe she gets the idea and that she understands a good deal of what is said to her. Does she think that she’s just an exception? I don’t know.

But she is trying to talk and I know that she is proud of herself when “out pops” a word that everyone can understand—she becomes giddy! But she’s coming along…there’s no time-table here; it’s a slow process from some autistic children and if she’s learning to be patient--very patient, then we must learn to be too.

More on apraxia of speech Here.

No comments: