People wonder what it is like to have children who are considered non-verbal. Non-verbal doesn’t mean that there is no verbal communication but it is limited and not the primary means of communication.
Our children do find other ways to communicate. we know what they want. They are very good at communicating their desires for food or entertainment.
But when I first realized they would be non-verbal, my main source of grief was about not hearing them tell us they loved us.
Thankfully we have heard some communication in this area, even though it is not often. Abby is most likely to tell us she loves us with a strong hug. Logan has used words a few times. One was this past weekend.
This can be tricky because of echolalia. Echolalia is repeating what you hear. So for example, if I say “Hi Abby,” Abby will respond with “Hi Abby.” She says what I say.
So I can get Logan to say “I love you” by saying, “I love you.” He will repeat what I say. So just hearing the words is not necessarily meaningful.
But this weekend, when I dropped them off at the group home after a visit, I said to Logan, “Love you.” He looked at me (which means he was engaged) and said “Love you Dad.” Notice that he didn’t say the same words as me. He meant it.
Hearing those words are something most parents take for granted. Having children with autism who are non-verbal makes the experience that much more special.