AskSarah

Ask Sarah: Can you help me better understand my non-verbal daughter?

Hello Sarah,
I have a 2 1/2 year old daughter with autism who is non-verbal so far. I have some questions that might help me understand her better. How does it feel when you try to put words together but it’s not happening? As a child, did it make you sad or frustrated not to be able to speak? Do you miss being able to talk? Did you feel untolerated around other kids?

Answer from Sarah:
It feels pleasing to know your family estimates you are smart even though [with autism], our bodies will not always work with our brains. If your family can find you inside a body that will not listen to you, it is a blessing. Then peace comes and loneliness slips away.

Please treat your little girl as though she understands. I felt lonely and not happy when people acted like I was a shell with no inhabitant. Tell her you can see her inside a body that betrays her. She needs her Dad to know she is a real child with a whole spirit and mind. Ask her to be patient until there is a way for her to speak, even if it is not with a sounding voice.

I asked God to help me because only He knew my heart. Lots lonely and in pain about no sounding voice. Other kids ignored me. I was not a real person to them. I was broken. Yes, it made me angry and afraid. I would have done anything to get a voice that worked. But I was stuck being a silent soul.

Tried, but could not control my speech. I could repeat some words, but could not control what I said or when. People thought I was dumb. I was smart.

My own Dad knew I was a thinker. Loved him. You can ask for your daughter to always remember you are knowing she is smart. She will cling to your ability to find her, and it will help her. Tell her over and over. Don’t forget to assure her. She is needing your faith in her.

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