Monday, 1 September 2014

Just One Wish

One of the hardest parts about having a child on the Spectrum is if they are 'non-verbal'.

Non-verbal doesn't mean not being able to speak.  It means to lack the ability to use language in a meaningful way.

Gabriel is classified as non-verbal.  He does not engage in conversation that is language appropriate.

The following is an example of such a conversation :

G-Mom : "Hi, my angel.  How was your day?"

Gabriel :  No response.

G-Mom : "Did you have fun today?"

Gabriel :  No response.

G-Mom : "Want to go for a drive in the car?"

Gabriel : "Wawawa! Ca!"

So when Gabriel is sick, angry or hurt, G-Dad and I have to observe his body language or undergo an elimination process (like one does with a crying newborn) to try and identify the problem.

Another example is when G-Dad and I arrived home from work the other day, to find Gabriel had tripped and fallen at home while running around.  We could tell he had hurt himself because he was limping.

G-Dad : "Gabriel, can you show me where it hurts with your hand?"

Gabriel : No response.

G-Dad : "Does your knee hurt?"

Gabriel : No response.

So we had to wait and see where any bruising or swelling would eventually show, to indicate to us where he had hurt himself (turns out it was the outer part of his ankle).

Gabriel has come a long way in his verbal learning, considering that two years ago he didn't even attempt a verbal response.  Speech Therapy hasn't proven to be fruitful so far.  Not because it doesn't work, but due to Gabriel not being able to maintain joint attention for a few minutes at a time (make eye contact).  This is an important part of Speech Therapy.

Gabriel has started doing something great, however - Echolalia.  This is when a child repeats words that they hear, whether from a TV show or from adult conversation.  And this is an excellent development because it indicates the start of language development.  So to jump onto this silver lining, we are joining a video-based programme soon that will help expand onto this.

So yes, we really, really wish that Gabriel will walk into our room one day and say something, anything, leaving our jaws dragging along the floor.

We really do believe that day will come.