Our 16-year-old with autism had very delayed speech. He had speech therapy for years. We spent years trying to get him to tell us what he wanted. Was he hungry, was he hurting, was he happy? We just never knew.
Over the years, we got used to using hand signs. Pointing and all the things that many parents do to help communicate with their child.
Currently, he is quite the talker.
Much of his language still involves scripting: repeating movie lines, over and over. He still can’t tell us when he hurts or feels bad, which is (bless his heart) too often. He also hasn't gotten down the idea of expressing emotions, as I guess this is a more complicated thing to do.
I noticed recently that Jac listens. Not only is he listening but he is beginning to pick out a word or two that he hears. Then he relates it either to something he has seen on television or something in his world.
For instance, we can be talking about making hamburger patties and Jac will comment about SpongeBob flipping patties at the Crabby Patty. At first, I didn't even make the connection, but now I am seeing him do this more and more.
The secret now is being familiar with the things important to him and his world. Then figuring out how he is plugging those into our world. It is so neat watching him try to chime in now at the dinner table to tell us something. Sure, it usually has nothing to do with what we are talking about. But we are excited that he's wanting to try to be a part of the conversation.
We are drumming up some interesting conversations at our house these days!! Speaking of drumming, "Mom, mom, I want to go see bubba's drums," declares Jac!
You can learn more about Assistive Communication on this website.