In the intricate world of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), there is a myriad of experiences and ways of being. While each autistic individual is unique in their own right, some face a distinct challenge – they are non-verbal.
What Does Being Non-Verbal Mean?
Contrary to some misconceptions, being non-verbal doesn't indicate a lack of desire to communicate. Autistic people who are non-verbal want to express their emotions, thoughts, and perceptions as much as anyone else. The difference lies in the method of expression. For these individuals, words may not be their primary medium. Instead, they utilize movements, body language, and unique sounds to communicate with the world around them.
Spotting Non-Verbal Autism Behaviors
Parents and caregivers often seek early signs of autism in young children to understand and support their needs better. Some symptoms that could indicate Non-Verbal Autism include:
- Not responding to their name by the age of 1
- Absence of babbling towards parents by the age of 1
- Not pointing at objects of interest by the age of 14 months
It's important to remember that every child develops at their own pace, and not every child who shows these behaviors is autistic. Nonetheless, recognizing such behaviors can help in seeking early intervention and support.
Communication Beyond Words
While some non-verbal autistic individuals may eventually acquire the ability to use a few words meaningfully, comprehensive conversations may remain a challenge. A child might expressively use the word "car" to indicate their wish to embark on a ride. However, answering complex questions, such as "Where should we go?", might not come as naturally.
Yet, this doesn't imply that they lack understanding or depth of thought. In many cases, they're absorbing their surroundings, processing emotions, and forming opinions just like anyone else. Their way of conveying these sentiments just diverges from conventional verbal channels.
Embracing Different Means of Communication
In our journey to advocate for autism acceptance, it's pivotal that we open our minds to different forms of communication. For non-verbal autistic people, tools like picture communication boards, sign language, or electronic communication devices can be life-changing.
Understanding and embracing non-verbal communication requires patience, compassion, and empathy. It's about looking beyond the spoken word and truly listening to movements, watching for gestures, and tuning in to the unique sounds that convey so much.
Non-verbal autistic people possess a depth of experience and emotion waiting to be shared and understood. By recognizing and adapting to their communication methods, we can bridge the gap and foster a more inclusive and understanding society. At WeBearish, we believe that every voice – spoken or unspoken – is valuable and deserves to be heard. Let's champion for a world where everyone's way of expression is celebrated.