The Words He Couldn’t Say

I didn’t know much about autism before my son was diagnosed at age 3.

I knew even less about being nonverbal/nonspeaking.

I didn’t know that some children never learn to speak. Or that some communicate with computers that speak for them.

Or in my son’s case, with a combination of sign language, sounds, gestures, a speech device, and clips from shows.

Today, Cooper spent some time with a new friend. A young man who is going to spend some time with him this fall.

Cooper is a complicated guy to explain. He has many layers and as his mom I know the best way to get to know him is to spend some time with him.

But I did explain the basics to this young man.

I told him that MMMM means milks. And that WWWW means water.

The signs for help, more, and all done.

I told him to give Cooper lots of time to answer and to not be afraid to ask me questions.

One thing I forgot to tell him is that Cooper will use scenes from tv shows and movies to communicate. And that it’s amazing.

I sat downstairs while they spent time together. They ‘chatted’ about whales and fire trucks. They sat on the swings and did puzzles and sprayed the house with the hose.

And then it was time for him to go.

When I asked him how it went he told me the best part of their visit was when Cooper got his attention and pressed play on his iPad.

“It’s nice to meet you Tiny” from Dinosaur Train filled the room. Communication.

The words he couldn’t say. But felt.

He said it was pretty amazing.

Nonverbal/non speaking can be challenging. It means listening with more than just your ears. And so many folks are intimidated by it.

But I’ve learned over the last ten years that if I listen, really listen, and watch and wait, and let him communicate in his own way…I can learn so much.

‘It’s nice to meet you too Cooper!’ I heard the young man say.

Finding Cooper’s Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you’re never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village….all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to our journey. You can also follow us on Facebook, subscribe for exclusive videos, and subscribe to our newsletter.

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Finding Cooper's Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you're never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village....all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to my page!

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