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Featured Questions About Non-verbal

Discussion in 'General Autism Discussion' started by Fino, Jun 27, 2020 at 2:53 PM.

  1. Fino

    Fino Alex V.I.P Member

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    Maybe I'm just bad at googling, but I can't find specific answers to these questions. I apologize if any of them are somehow insensitive in any way.

    1. I'll be working with a non-verbal 5-year-old. In this case (or any case), why are they they non-verbal? Is it a neurological issue? Are they physically incapable or are they choosing not to for some reason?

    2. Should the child be encouraged or asked to try speaking?

    3. Do you have any general advice?
     
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  2. Mia

    Mia Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I worked with some non-verbal autistic children at both a sanitarium and a children's camp. Wait for them to speak, if they ever do. Learn their parents or carer's way of communicating with them. I would never push a non-verbal child into speaking. My younger sister was also non-verbal until elementary school age, we communicated with hand gestures and nodding the head yes or no.
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2020 at 7:31 PM
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  3. Mary Terry

    Mary Terry Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I don't know why they are non-verbal but suspect it is mostly neurological pathway issues. There are many people here far more knowledgeable than I am, but here's what I do.

    With my non-verbal nephew who is now about 30 years old, I came to realize that trying to talk is exhausting and stressful for him, that is rude and unfeeling to try to make him talk, and to ask him "yes" or "no" questions as much as possible.

    Examples:

    For lunch today, I can make us salads, fish tacos, tuna sandwiches, or ham and cheese sandwiches.
    Do you want a salad?
    Do you want a fish taco?
    Do you want a tuna sandwich?
    Do you want a ham and cheese sandwich?

    OR

    While you're staying with me today, we can take a long walk, or watch TV, or I'll read you a book, or you can work on a jigsaw puzzle, or you can look at Wikipedia on my laptop, or you can help me make cookies.
    Do you want go for a walk?
    Do you want to watch TV?
    Do you want me to read you a book?
    Do you want to do a jigaw puzzle?
    Do you want to look at Wikipedia?
    Do you want to help me make cookies?

    He communicates enough that I usually can figure out what he really wants. He is getting better at volunteering words without being prompted. He ate lunch with me before the quarantine began and then said "I'm fed up!" I said "oh, no! Is something wrong?" He said "no, no, no! I am full!" I laughed (and he did, too) and I told him that there is a big difference between being "fed up" and "being full". He has a great sense of humor and I think he already knew the difference between those two phrases. He simply misspoke and he knew it almost immediately and corrected himself.

    I sure miss not being able to spend time with him these days. :(:(:(
     
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  4. Matthias

    Matthias Well-Known Member

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    I used to be non-verbal. I didn't start speaking until 3- 4 years old and even after that I didn't say much for most of my childhood. I remember feeling depressed and alone for as long as I could remember (since age 5 at least) and fearful. I thought I was different than other people and was afraid people would think I was weird if I talked so I said as little as possible to avoid feeling rejected for being different. Other people couldn't tell I was depressed or had anxiety because I suppressed my emotions since I was afraid people would detect them and find out I was different. It might seem strange that a 5 year old would mask being different by not talking but I've read about other kids doing it too and explaining it later. Since they are living in their own world, they don't realize everyone already thinks they are different.

    I can only speak for myself but if that 5 year old is non-verbal for the same reason I was my advice is to be positive (but not unrealistically positive) and avoid saying anything negative that would make him feel like he is being judged. If he gets upset, treat him like an equal (don't talk down to him), try to figure out what made him upset, and clearly explain so he understand (most of my problems were due to misunderstandings because no one explained things to me). He may be non-verbal but if he's like me he will listen to everything people say (often while looking away and pretending to be uninterested) so always be careful what you say around him.
     
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  5. BrokenBoy

    BrokenBoy 戯言使い(Nonsense User)

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    What do you mean working with?
     
  6. Major Tom

    Major Tom Searching for ground control... V.I.P Member

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    My son is 7 and non verbal. I advise encouraging him to speak, but don't be forceful. If you know what he wants tell him simple words and try to get him to repeat them. Like this : Trying to teach my son to speak. The grey is a link to a short video on this site of what I do every day with him any chance I get.

    Also, I'm not sure about this, but everything seems to develop slower or in some cases not at all (yet). This leads me to believe in the case of my son that A: He's going to develop speech later in life. Or B: He is not wired for speech and will never speak. I'm hoping it's option A, but either way he's my boy and I'm going to love him. I just want him to develop ANY skills that will help him in the future, when I'm no longer around.
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2020 at 5:30 PM
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  7. Aspychata

    Aspychata Serenity waves, beachy vibes

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    Fino has mentioned he is a music teacher.
     
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  8. Mary Terry

    Mary Terry Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I'm not really sure I know what "non-verbal" means.

    My nephew had echolalia from an early age. He would quote entire scripts from Sesame Street in the proper character's voice and quote dialogue from game shows and other TV shows he liked. His father/my brother, now deceased, told me one day that he thought my nephew was communicating by using the scripts from Sesame Street. I started really listening to him and realized that often whatever he was quoting from a Sesame Street character dialogue was appropriate and responsive to the situation in which he was trying to express himself. It was Oscar or Cookie Monster or some other character's voice and words, but it made sense in the context in which he was speaking it. So he did speak and wanted to communicate but couldn't find his own words to do it so he borrowed other people's words.

    By the time he was in his mid-teens, he babbled almost constantly, especially when he was happy and relaxed, still mostly quoting things he heard on TV or lyrics to songs. His mom told me hush him up by reminding him "no self talk" and she said that he really just talking to himself. He did know what "self-talk" is and he would be quiet for awhile. His talking never bothered me so I never hushed him up unless we were somewhere like a restaurant or store where people would stare at him or move away from him. I wanted him to learn to control the urge to babble/self-talk around other people who did not understand that he is autistic so he could better function in society. So then I started whispering "discipline!" to him to help him gain control. He knows what "discipline" means, too.

    I'm now babbling about all this myself but I guess my point is my nephew has always said words but his words would seem nonsensical to most other people. However, he is diagnosed as non-verbal and low functioning when he really is neither of those things.
     
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  9. Ezra

    Ezra Relax, it's just chaos.

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    Nonverbal can be due to a neurological pathway that hasn't formed or is not completely formed, or apraxia of speech which is a motor disorder, or selective mutism which is a psychological block brought on by anxiety. Or a combination of those factors. Being nonverbal does not mean the child will not be vocal.

    It's probably best to find out why he's nonverbal from his parents and get any advice on how to handle it from them. Maybe he needs encouragement to speak. Maybe he needs to be left alone regarding that and just given his lessons.
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2020 at 8:03 PM
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  10. Fino

    Fino Alex V.I.P Member

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    I'll be teaching him piano. :cool:

    Thank you everyone so far!
     
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  11. Rabscuttle

    Rabscuttle Member

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    As Ezra noted above, non-verbal does NOT necessarily mean non-oral; some of them can be quite loud (I learned that the hard way at a previous job; even I didn't think I could jump like that!). Also, for the record, non-oral doesn't necessarily mean non-verbal; sometimes they can write or type of what have you, but simply can't speak.

    I'd make a point of asking questions about how he communicates and if anything in particular bothers or upsets him. It should be an interesting opportunity for both of you.
     
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  12. Major Tom

    Major Tom Searching for ground control... V.I.P Member

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    Perhaps a good thing to do would be to say or sing the notes as you play them. That sounds like a wonderful thing to do. I'm working on guitar with my son, but I think the piano may be easier for him to pick up. Good luck!
     
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  13. Mia

    Mia Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    My husband learned solfège (self-taught) when he was about your son's age, as he was late to speak. He stills sings notes when tuning or sight reading.

    Solfege provides a framework for melodies by establishing recognizable relationships between pitches, and training your ear to hear patterns. It is an excellent system for learning the architecture behind music, and is a fundamental concept of ear training.
     
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  14. Crossbreed

    Crossbreed Neur-D Missionary ☝

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    @Fino , there are two common causes for being non-verbal,
    1. Infantilism (like my 25yo daughter) &
    2. Mutism
    With #1, neurological development is consistent with a pre-literate age. (In my daughter's case, that is 18 months.) Such would not be a likely candidate for piano lessons. Can you teach an 1.5yo (who is not maturing) to play a piano?

    Those with #2 typically have normal cognitive development. They just lack speech. If his/her parents believe that s/he can learn piano, s/he must have learned prior skills and have developed an alternative means of communication (sign language?).

    Typically, such can hear and follow instructions. S/he just needs a means to give you feedback. I propose that you meet them and see if you can establish some rudimentary communication with them.
     
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  15. Major Tom

    Major Tom Searching for ground control... V.I.P Member

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    As to your post to #1 who's to know unless you really try? My son has the mentality of a 2.5 year old and he still seems to enjoy strumming the guitar. He will never be a virtuoso, but if he gets enjoyment and relaxation from it, I'm happy.
     
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  16. Crossbreed

    Crossbreed Neur-D Missionary ☝

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    I agree, but is he able to process structured training in it (by some means)? If he can, he sounds more like a #2.

    My daughter likes to look at magazines & books. We have no idea what she is getting out of the latter when there are no pictures (like the white pages in a phone book). [​IMG]

    We're certainly happy, if it makes her happy. ;)
     
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  17. Major Tom

    Major Tom Searching for ground control... V.I.P Member

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    No, it's not structured at all. He knows no notes or the concept of music at all. Like I said he's like a 2.5 year old (maximum), and he's 7.5 years old.

    My son also like to look at books, perhaps she's memorizing the numbers. I had a friend growing up like that, he memorized the phone book up to about halfway through the M names. He could tell you their name, phone number and address. We tested him numerous times.

    Though your daughter can't speak maybe she's doing something similar?
     
  18. Crossbreed

    Crossbreed Neur-D Missionary ☝

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    She can't read or write in any demonstrable way. (That would be the next best thing to talking.)
     
  19. Ylva

    Ylva Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I don't know and I don't really have any advice, but if she can learn to hum or whistle maybe that's a start. Or to sign, whether ASL or what you have where you live.
     
  20. Crossbreed

    Crossbreed Neur-D Missionary ☝

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    Kind of like the Think System...? :p
    Music Man
     
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