“Just because a person can’t speak doesn’t mean they have nothing to say.” A very important reminder from a parent of a non-verbal child.
Communication is a basic human need, allowing people to connect with others, make decisions that affect their lives, express feelings and feel part of the community they live in.
People with little or no speech still have the same communication needs as the rest of us. We may just have to work a bit harder to find a communication strategy that works.
The following tips have been contributed to Scope by parents of children and adults with special needs. We hope you will find them useful, and please do share your own!
1. Make it mean something
Katie can clap her hands so we have taught her to clap when she wants to say yes.
2. Level it up
Playing and talking are easier if you can see each other. Sit so you are at the same level.
3. Talk about it
Eddy can’t speak and also has limited understanding but it is important to keep talking to him about what’s going on.
4. Eye contact
I put stickers on my forehead as a target for my son to look at. This reminds him to look at people’s faces, so people feel more like he is engaging with them.
5. It has meaning – it’s just not obvious
We treat every non-verbal indication as a communication and try to work out what Gaby is trying to say to us.