J-Bear and Me

learning to navigate the world, j-bear style

Communication and Speech

I write off and on about J-bear’s communication. I have written about how he is non-verbal but not quiet on several occasions. It’s a major portion of life with him, recognizing this fact, so I suspect that if I sat down and really looked through all my babbling I’d find a lot more about this subject than I think right now.

Wandering the internet there were several discussions in several separate locations about communication. It focused on how speech driven a lot of the therapy given to children on the spectrum is rather it being communication driven. The conversations were interesting and most of all, they were true. Spoken word is the common manner with which we communicate but it is not the only way we communicate nor is it the only way we can effectively communicate. It is common thus it becomes the enforced norm as it is easiest on all else involved.

Except when it isn’t.

What I read was from family members of people on the spectrum and people who are themselves on the spectrum. Their points were valid and brought up my own feelings on the subject: Speech is not the end all be all.

Now, I want my son’s life to have as much ease as possible. I want people to enjoy the same understanding of him as I do but that is not realistic. I am with him the bulk of his days. I have spoken J-bear since the first moments of his life. I have the benefits and blessings of knowing how to read every bit of communication he has with almost complete fluency. This spoils me to a point, I suppose. I am open to accepting that truth. I am also open to the fact that speech might never be his main method of communication.

That’s okay.

My son was born with a manner of being that makes what is easy for most not easy for him. If using a communication device, using picture communication systems, using sign language, using spoken words, using gestures, using smoke signals, using Morse Code, using whatever works allows him to get what’s going on with him across then so be it. It will not be easy for others but that’s not what this is about. It’s his life, not mine or any others. If it works for him it is then my job to help work on being there to support his needs and support making what works for him effective to the world around him.

It’s not perfect. I envision a lot of uphill battles and frustrating events in my future. This is what was given to me the day I was given my son to love. There’s no nobility in it for it is what you do for your child, no more and no less. My child just happens to have different needs and it is my job, as his mother, to adapt and give him every tool and advantage I can manage to see him flourish.

He will flourish. I know deep down that one day he’ll tell me some amazing stories. The way he already laughs, smiles and engages without many words shows me that without a doubt. His mind is so beautiful; so clever and quick that once he cracks the code on how to share it with us all I bet we’ll all be highly amused and maybe even a little humbled. I can’t wait.

1 Comment

  1. anne rossetti (mary's sister)

    August 2, 2013 at 5:12 pm

    I think you summed it up perfectly when you said that speech is not the same as communication.
    Speech is one method of communication, it is by far not the only method, and quite possibly not the most effective method. You and J-bear seem to be navigating your journey beautifully.

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