I think it’s pretty safe to say that most parents learn to read their children. Most parents are able to recognize that their child is upset, stressed, worried or scared. In many cases, they can talk to their child and learn more about whatever is going on.
What happens when your child has something like Autism and they either can’t speak or struggle with expressive language?
I don’t have a tremendous amount of experience with the non-verbal side of the Autism spectrum but my youngest was believed to be non-verbal for the first 4 years of his life and was also thought to be deaf, until an ABR proved otherwise.
I remember how difficult it was to try and figure out what he was experiencing. It was heartbreaking because he went on with a painful, undiagnosed fever disorder for a long time because he was unable to communicate..
Emmett’s come a long way since then and has gained the ability to speak but my heart truly goes out to those still living with the heartache on never knowing for sure what their child was experiencing.
The whole point of this post is to spark a conversation about identifying the verbal or non-verbal cues that our children on the Autism spectrum will display when they are happy, scared, stressed out, sad, angry or maybe not feeling well.
Here’s a few examples of what I mean…
When Emmett is not feeling well, he never really says he’s not feeling well. Instead, I notice a shift in demeanor. He becomes very short tempered, irritable and often will refuse to eat.
Emmett can speak quite well but will rarely ever just say he’s not feeling well. I have to observe his behavior to learn these types of things.
Elliott on the other hand will begin to fidget when he’s stressed out or anxious. He pretty big into bending and twisting his fingers in rather painful looking ways when he’s upset about something.
I can always tell when anxiety is becoming a struggle for him because he will aimlessly pace the first floor of our house.
When it comes to Gavin, he hits himself when he feels any type of significant emotion. If he’s not hitting himself, he’s twisting and contorting his extremities in ways that will make one cringe.
How do you tell when your child on the Autism spectrum is struggling?