“I wrote 10 line poem Mom”, were the words uttered by Shreya or so her mother thought to be. Shreya is 16 years old , non-verbal autistic child. In an internet led world, where a verbal discussion becomes a trending topic, here is a quiet world of autism or so you thought it to be.
What is it to be an Autistic Person?
Autism or autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a development disorder that affects behaviours and communication. While most early signs of behavioural patterns like repetitive jumping, babbling, extreme sensitivity to sounds or change of routines are found in toddlers, many of them go unnoticed.
In later years, the child shows signs of passive-aggressive behaviour or is unable to adapt to normal things like social gatherings, listening to loud sounds, is hyperactive and doesn’t understand facial expressions or language.
Non-Verbal Autism, on the other hand, is a condition where the child/ person doesn’t even know how to respond. They find it difficult to speak or express themselves in words.
How to communicate with a nonverbal autistic child?
A person with non-verbal autism-like Shreya avoid eye contact when spoken to, are less interested in activities like playing with a group or has a delayed development in speech.
You can engage them by giving them your personal attention.
They are more likely to respond to/ by :
- hand movements and gestures
- allow them to be a part of a discussion and letting them respond in their own time,
- imitate an activity or involve them to do a small task.
- While some autistic kids may have poor cognitive skills, sensory-related activities, Visuals, colours etc help you to draw their attention.
Adapting to Verbal rich society:
The common stigma associated with Autism is deformity and lack of intellectual thinking. Many autistic kids are forced to be either homeschooled or be dependent on aids given by Trusts and Funds. The verbal rich society often is seen mistreating, bullying those with autism leading to depression or poor childhood.
Can autistic adults function in society? Yes obviously.
Autistic adults may be shy, reserved and have few communication skills. You see results when you encourage them to take part in a single task. Involve them with tasks/activities that need them to devote complete time and dedication like music, dance, painting, art & craft.
Some adults with autism learn to function well in society. With the help of medical therapy and personal care and support by families, they are able to complete their degrees and be employed too.
Social Awareness about Autism :
Teenager Shreya may be a non-verbal autistic person. But, guess what? She writes a poem. The most abused myth about Autism is such persons have a limited thought process. Infact, you will find them show creative capabilities of making successful careers for themselves like Susan Boyle.
Is the non-verbal discussion meant to be confined to only to few families to cope with autism?
Social awareness and understanding of autism is a social responsibility. They are part of your society. Let them feel safe, be cared for and watch them treat you likewise because all they need is a non-verbal gesture of Love.