Thursday, February 5, 2015

Verbal or Nonverbal?

When Evie was first diagnosed I thought she must be 'verbal'. I mean, she said words here and there and I was seeing all these parents complaining about how they never heard their child's voice so clearly their children were 'nonverbal'.
'Thank goodness my child can talk', I thought,'She must not be very autistic'.

Go ahead and laugh. It's okay.

She couldn't use words to tell us what she needed but she could sing. She could say things like 'Daddy' and 'yogurt' and 'Elmo'. One day I was curious and asked her speech therapist if Evie would be considered verbal or nonverbal. She looked uncomfortable and changed the subject but it answered my question.

Now it's two years later. She chatters up a storm but still isn't conversational. Mostly it's one or two word requests, scripts of things we've said to her or song lyrics. Today something different happened, though. She was stomping loudly when I asked her,"If you want to stomp, where should you do it? Where should you stomp your sillies out?"
She took a minute to think about it (and, honestly I thought she wasn't paying attention to what I said) and then replied,"A trampoline."

I had told her countless times in the past that she should do her stomping on the trampoline but I was shocked by her response. I believe in presuming competence, which is why I asked the question in the first place, but I was still taken by surprise. Part of me knows she will progress and develop skills as time goes by. She already has so much. It's just so easy to fall into the trap of the day to day stuff and assuming it is where we will always be.

It may seem like a silly thing to get so excited over and it may not happen again for a while but it's a glimmer of things to come. 

Image credit: Brooke Goodwin
Image description: Adorable little girl with short dark blond hair, wearing a Little Mermaid tee shirt. She's trying to smile while winking at the camera.


  1. It's not silly at all- it's pretty exciting!

  2. I don't see it as silly. It's a mile marker moment! There should be cookies, and confetti! :D

    1. There will be pizza! The Boy just walked over to the market to pick it up.

  3. I like to think I presume competence, yet I still find myself surprised when my son does something new. I guess we must balance letting our children advance at their own pace while encouraging them to achieve more.


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