It has been a few years since I have lost my voice, due to cold or allergies. However, that is indeed the scenario I find myself in this week. It can be very frustrating.
I mentioned to Jim that it’s difficult to be the voice of authority when you have no voice. He reminded me that sometimes people listen harder when you only whisper. He’s right, that’s a valid point. Although, to stop a preschooler from misbehaving from across the room, you kinda need your voice, if only to call their name to get their attention – grin.
When I asked Jim for a blog idea, he said, “Write about being voiceless.” Interesting concept.
As I ponder the fact that I am only speaking in a quiet whisper, I am reminded that at least I have a whisper, and if need be, I can write out what I am trying to communicate.
Not so for many young autistic children who are non-verbal and have yet to learn how to communicate their wants/needs. I work with some of these children, and our grandson is one of these children.
Many of them can actually get across what they want. They will probably take you to the item, or take your hand and put it on the item, or hand you something to open. Thankfully, gestures are one way of communicating.
Can you imagine though, having a tummy ache, or a headache, being mad or sad, or all over unhappy and having no way to tell someone what is the matter? How would you communicate your pain or displeasure? The same way many of these children do, by crying. And then the guessing game begins. Are they bleeding? Do they appear to be hurt? What just happened that might be causing this? There are all kinds of questions and theories that go on trying to figure out why the child is crying. And, they can’t tell us what the matter is. That must be extremely frustrating for the child!
The diagnosis of autism continues to rise. The percentage is now 1 in 68. Chances are pretty good that you know someone on the autism spectrum. April is just around the corner. April 2nd is Autism Awareness Day. There will be all kinds of events going on to help raise awareness about autism. Perhaps you might consider attending an event and learning more about autism. It never hurts to learn something new, and it might increase your understanding of why some children seem to cry for no reason.
Be aware. Be informed. See things differently. Enjoy the gift of a child.
Pam Horton is the author of “Autism: Expressions of a non-verbal child” and the companion book “Autism: Rory’s Story, having an autistic brother” coming this April.