Our son is four years old and nonverbal. He does not speak, but he has a lot to say.

The older he gets the more and more I notice people being uncomfortable regarding communicating with him.

I used to get very upset, assuming people were just ignoring him, but the more I think about it the more I wonder if people just don’t know what to say.

He’s not going to answer back so I guess it can be intimidating coming up with something to say.

I’m going to let you in on a little secret.

Being non verbal in no way means that he cannot communicate.

He may not have any expressive language but he does have receptive language.

(Receptive language is the ability to listen and understand what is being communicated to you.)

Exactly how much is still a mystery but please don’t underestimate him.

I can give you countless scenarios where he answers me with the “correct” answer.

Me: Do you want to watch a show?

Him: Giant smile with a giggle.

Me: It’s time to brush your teeth!

Him: Rolling away from me and starting to cry.

He’s communicating.

Please don’t treat him as if he’s less than or “dumb.”

Not only is this hurtful to him but it also makes you look completely ignorant.

When you say things like “he doesn’t know,” it’s you, in fact, who doesn’t seem to know or get it. He is smart. He knows.

Look at him, look into his eyes and see. Watch his face, read his cues.

You just need to learn how to communicate with him his way, not yours.

He’s a little boy. First and foremost he’s a child. Treat him like you would any other little boy.

Compliment his shoes. Tell him you like his hair or his shirt. Ask him to read a book or show him a toy. Ask him for a high five.

Love him. Speak to him. Simple.

Don’t ignore him. I was recently talking to a friend about this and she said something very profound.

She said “anyone who ignores him should assume that he knows they are ignoring him.”

Again, he knows.

If you take the time to get to know our son, you will soon realize that being nonverbal means anything but the inability to communicate.

All it means for him is that he doesn’t speak words.

He speaks with his voice in different sounds.

He speaks with his eyes.

He speaks in his cries.

He speaks in his body language.

And most of all, he speaks with his smile.

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