Nonspeaking Communication Can Be So Beautiful

Kate and Coop2

I have a beautiful moment to share with you…

This morning, when I came out of my bedroom, far earlier than I would have liked, I knew my Cooper was waiting on the stairs for me.

For one I could hear train whistles and happy music. And secondly, lately, he’s been waiting for me more.

Near, but far.

Not close enough to touch, but easily heard and seen if I peek around a corner or under a table.

He gasped as he usually does when it’s been a period of time since he’s last seen me. As if it’s been months and not just a few short hours.

This kid often gets his nights and days a bit confused, so it was no surprise when I led him back to bed at 1 am this morning. We often meet in the middle of the night.

But now, daytime. The sun soon to rise.

He stood as I neared him. I noted his height immediately. He seemed like he got taller overnight.

He smiled. Leaned his head onto my shoulder, and touched my cheek with one hand, telling me nonverbally to stop. To pause.

He had something to tell me. This is how he communicates with me. When it’s important, he touches me gently. Either on my arm or cheek.

I can still remember the beginning. Speech Delay. Developmental Delay. Autism. Severe. Nonverbal Autism. Intellectual Disability. Like dominos they fell over the years, piling up all around him. Until I said no more.

He is Cooper. He is uniquely himself. He is exactly who he is supposed to be.

And then I heard it.

Baby Bop singing from his iPad.

‘I missed you. I missed you so much. I’m so glad I get to see you again.’ A green dinosaur saying the words he could not.

And then he smiled.

‘I missed you too buddy. I’m glad to see you too.’

Communication can be so beautiful. Even when it’s not words.

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.

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Kate Swenson

Kate Swenson lives in Minnesota with her husband Jamie, and four children, Cooper, Sawyer, Harbor and Wynnie. Kate launched Finding Cooper's Voice from her couch while her now 11-year-old son Cooper was being diagnosed with autism. Back then it was a place to write. Today it is a living, thriving community of people who want to not only advocate for autism, but also make the world a better place for individuals with disabilities and their families. Her first book, Forever Boy, will be released, April 5, 2022.

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1 Comment

  1. Michelle on December 20, 2022 at 10:29 am

    I love this. My Hutch is non-verbal and I love the way he communicates with me. Surrounded with love.

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