Lets face it; it is the dream of every parent to have their child express themselves and develop their language just like any other child out there.
I say this because when my son was born, I was really elated. At last, here was a son whom I could confide in, tell him of my worries, gossip about women as well as hear what the world was like to a young boy.
On this not happening, I was really frustrated.
And I started a long journey of finding out what was deterring him in his language development. I was later to bump into researches that spoke about nonverbal autism, the Einstein syndrome, the effect of too much screentime on language development of toddlers as well as receptive language disorder.
Long story short, I know the lengths and pains that a parent can get into to have their child speaking.
Back to our question, can a parent having a nonverbal autistic child ever talk?
Well, one thing that you will hear in autism circles whether we are talking about high functioning or low functioning autism is that no two people with autism are the same.
It is an entire spectrum.
@themonterabbi Here are signs that an autistic kid will finally be able to speak #virtualautism #speechdelayedtoddler #speechdelayed #autismawareness ♬ Sunrise – Official Sound Studio
And so there are kids who will not be able to speak in their formative years but suddenly have a re-awakening and start speaking. And then there are those that will remain nonverbal. There are also those who will not say anything meaningful other than some echolalia, which is basically repeating sentences that one has heard of.
Others might just have a few words that might not make so much meaning.
But when a kid is small and non communicative: maybe only expressing themselves by pointing fingers, making body movements or using picture flashcards to communicate their needs, a parent cannot adequately tell.
In fact, language specialists would also not be able to tell.
But there are some safe steps that one could take:
- Go to speech language pathologist
The specialist will screen your child and tell you what your child could be going through. They will then recommend the best way forward.
- Try out speech therapy
You would need to start helping your kid with speech therapy. It can either be physical sessions, virtual or if you cannot afford, you can try the steps at home.
- Try out play therapy
There is a large set of toys for kids with nonverbal autism that you could get. What the toys do is make sounds and then the child is supposed to imitate them.
- Take them out to be social with other kids
The number one way that a kid is going to be exposed to instances where they ought to speak is when they are out with other kids. Here they will be expected to demand for things as well as claim what belongs to them. This way, your child will hopefully be able to get out some sentences out of their mouths.
5 Signs that your Child with Nonverbal Autism will speak
Having said all that, I think there are some agreeable signs that your child with autism will speak. So lets get down to it.
- Use of words that denote what they want as opposed to sounds
A preverbal child might say ‘milk’ when they mean that they want a glass of milk. They could also pull you to the kitchen and point out the milk. This way, this kid shows potential of speaking. It is just that they have limited vocabularies.
In such an instance, I would encourage the parents to use as many vocabularies and expose the kid to more talk. This can be done at home as well as at school with peers where there is bound to have lots of talking back and forth.
2. Following text directions
If your nonverbal autistic child is able to follow text directions like ‘Hello Nicholas, go to the kitchen and get me a shopping bag’ but they are not able to express themselves, then am sure that they will be able to speak. In such a case, the child just has expressive language disorder owing maybe to a heavy tongue or maybe too many languages in the house.
3. Expressing themselves through gestures
I believe that not all communication is verbal. So if a child is preverbal but can use gestures and intelligent body movements, then they are as well on their journey to expressing themselves.
4. Pretend play is refined
Even when they are not verbal, these set of autistic kids will have a more refined pretend play in the kitchen or doing things that they see their parents and peers doing most of the time. Boys might tend to build houses, drive cars and all that male play while girls will find themselves nursing their dolls, feeding them or even cooking.
Once you note such signs, be sure that your child is on the way to copying even your language.
5. No unusual sounds or vocalizations
I have noted that in most nonverbal autistic adults, they have these unusual sounds and vocalizations. For a nonverbal kid, if these strange vocalizations are not present, then be sure that your child is just preverbal and will be able to express themselves with time.