As any Autism parent can tell you, this can be an exhaustive, frustrating and all too often heartbreaking situation for both the parents and the child.
Sometimes you have words to help guide you towards what your child needs, other times all you can do is observe and interpret behaviors.
It’s really difficult to explain what this is like, in a way that can put the non-Autism parent in the shoes of someone that struggles with communicating on even a basic level with their child.
Just imagine your child hurting, hungry, scared, sad, happy, sick or in distress and not being able to convey those feelings to you.
Imagine your child being victimized by a bully at school and no one ever knowing about it because they either can’t talk or don’t have the expressive language skills needed to vocalize or communicate that information to you.
This would be a nightmare type situation for many parents but it’s just the day in the life of many Autism parents.
For those that don’t know, my youngest Emmett, didn’t speak until he was about 4 years old. We were told that he would likely never speak and those first 4 years were beyond difficult. We taught ourselves sign language and did everything we could to help him communicate and express himself. This was only a short term taste of what other Autism parents deal with every single day.
My heart goes out to those struggling with this.
It’s important to note that verbal ability doesn’t always make communication easy.
While my kids are all very verbal, they have very little expressive ability. This means that even though they speak and have enormous vocabularies they struggle significantly with articulating how they feel. It’s very often a frustrating guessing game, even with words.