Sir Dantes is going to be five years old this coming February. My, my how time goes by so fast. I have been blogging here a couple of years now (I think) and keeping you updated on the adventures of our life with autism. Those of you who have been regular readers know that Sir Dantes is non-verbal still. Or is he? Listen to the link below.
What did you think of that? Sounds like a a bunch of jibbing to me. However, it is not. It is the speech of a non-verbal autistic young man who did not know that everyone else could not understand what he was saying. He was frustrated and angry.
He understood perfectly everything that was said to him. Why did not anyone understand him? In his brain the "words" that he spoke were as clear to him as the words he heard spoken to him. You can read about him here:
It is an interesting story. I had to look up the word cacophony. It means "loud confusing disagreeable sounds". While I read it I was struck by the similarities to this young man and Sir Dantes. I suppose I could audio tape Sir Dantes and let you listen to him, but I am not. Just take it from me, he makes a wide range of noises and sounds that most of the time resemble mindless babbling. At times the sounds appear to be attempts at "real" speech; bababab....mamama....you know, baby babbling sounds. He has and does also scream at times and hums. Does he think he is talking? Are some of his fits the result of us not understanding what he is saying? I can imagine that has got to be extremely frustrating.
I know that I have blogged about this communication issue we have and how the feelings of the frustration must be overwhelming for him. But, this is different. Before, it was a feeling that he knew he could not speak, but now it is a feeling that he thinks he is speaking and we are just not listening. It could explain not only the real source of these meltdown fits (besides some of the sensory issues), but also his lack of interest in his Ipod and the "talking" applications we have downloaded for him. It could explain his lack of interest in using the sign language he knows. Does he think we just don't care what he has to say?
On a side note, you may be asking yourself how I know he knows the signs. Well, I give him sign "test" similar to giving a spelling test. "Sir Dantes, show mommy the sign for shoes". He does it. "Sir Dantes, show mommy the sign for flower". He does it. I could go on and on but I won't. I would guess that he knows close to two hundred words and several phrase ("May I have a drink? Thank you"). Still we are having difficulty in getting him to use the signs he knows to make phrases and use them. Whenever we speak to him, we use the signs associated with the words. My husband has spent countless hours loading the applications on the Ipod with words and phrases. Yet, when presented with the devise he would rather play the games or take pictures.
Is this because he thinks we understand what he is saying and that we just don't care?
I certainly hope not. I hope I am way off the mark here. We care about our children so much. I know that they know we love them. They have too. He has too. Of course, he is still very young. Having this knowledge of what he may possibly be thinking can be a valuable tool as he grows. Now, how do we use this information in order to get him to understand that his form of speech is cacophony to us and everyone else. How do we get him to start utilizing the tools we have given him to communicate? After all, he may never "speak". It is not uncommon at all for an autistic child to never develop verbal skills. I am open to any ideas that any of you out there have to share.
On a bright note, Sir Dantes has finally shown the first signs of wanting to write. He has discovered the ability to draw on his computer. This morning he was drawing smiley faces.
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