How Well Can You Know Someone With Limited Speech?

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Sonny can’t tell me why he gets upset. He confuses me when he bursts into laughter for no apparent reason, or is adamant that we go left instead of right. I don’t know his favourite colour or what he dreams about. I don’t really know how much he understands. However I feel I know him better than a lot of people in my life who are very much able to talk to me. And I kind of think he knows me better than most too.

Sonny and I, we experience a lot together. We experience a lot of feelings together. He can experience the extremes of anger or fear when he is confused or anxious. Not only his- but my emotions too- when he does something dangerous or turns an inanimate object into a weapon when we are out I show him I am angry so he doesn’t do it again. But I hardly ever shout. I just say how I am feeling in a calm way, which works a lot better for Sonny. He usually says sorry and kisses my hand. (What a charmer.)

In the last month or so he has started to use his words to tell me how he feels (on Sunday he said ‘Sonny is sad’ when we had to queue for ages at the swimming pool, and, ‘Sonny is happy’ when we were eating Mcdonalds. He has also been saying, ‘calm’ when he starts to gets stressed and takes some deep breaths (click here to see) and that actually works to calm him down.

Anyway what I am trying to get at is that we have a lot of feelings to deal with.

It is emotional work for both of us. And in a few relationships I have in my life we can talk and talk and talk but without really saying or expressing that much to the other. Sonny and I use a lot less words but say and express masses. And we listen and respond to those feelings.

Everything we feel, we express.

Everything that is expressed, is heard.

That is how we know each other.

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2 thoughts on “How Well Can You Know Someone With Limited Speech?

  1. Another profound blog post Melanthe. It puts me in mind of the early months in a babies life, and the biological communication between the mother and child, and how they attune to each other. Thought provoking too, to point out how lots vo verbal communication can disguise a lack of emotional communication.

  2. You are doing a perfect job feeling your child rather than listening to the expected speech. Perfect pitch is the reason why my non-verbal and autistic clients make glorious piano music when taught in the classical tradition. They are not imitating, it is not a behavior. They are originating from their brilliant minds. That is why teaching to the gift is so cool! I talk about this on my article http://hennyk.com/autism-and-perfect-pitch.

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