#nonverbalcommunicators #supportingnonverbalfamilies #beavoiceforthem #awareness
As part of Autism Awareness week, Yotism would like to bring today’s awareness and acknowledgement to those on the spectrum and the families and care workers who love and support people who don’t have the voice to speak for themselves. Those who communicate in other ways have the gift of helping us show the world how to communicate beyond the art of spoken language.
The nonverbal communicators will communicate through their body, gestures, sounds and actions/reactions.
- A nonverbal communicator may use a communication tool like:
- Certain body movements and responses (as an example stimming)
- Through Touch
- Sign language
- Picture cards (visual aids)
- Through favoured objects
- Facial expressions
- Eye contact
- Assisted technology. Apps, computer or screen
- Through their most loved, known, familiar person
- A nonverbal communicator may tend to feel:
- Lost in a sea of conversation
- In their own world
- Unable to express their needs, thoughts or feelings
- Harder to regulate
- They want to communicate but don’t know how
- What can we observe in a nonverbal communicator that can actually be communication:
- Their breath. How are they breathing?
- Their body language: Is it fast, erratic, slow, deliberate? What are their movements like, are they trying to make contact with us? Certain repetitive movements could be communicating different things depending on the individual.
- Their gestures: Do they look at you from the side, do they take your hand?
- Their different sounds: Tone, pitch, timbre and regularity
- How they let you into their world
- How they stim: As an example, different types of hand flapping can have different expressions and communicate different feelings: such as happy, anxious, excited, scared etc.
- How they vocalise: As an example, certain repetitive sounds can act as a certain response of meaning. There may be a certain noise/sound for ‘yes’, for instance, or ‘no’, or ‘stop’, or ‘I want more’ etc.
- What can we do to show that we hear, acknowledge, meet and greet a nonverbal communicator:
- Treat them as you would anyone else, with the same eye contact, gesture and communication.
- Use imitation skills
- Play reciprocal games like passing a ball/bean bag/scarf back and forth
- Play games
- Show breathing techniques
- Use a preferred communication aid
- Sorting and matching games are great for communication
- Placing and storing things in jars and clear boxes so they can be recognised immediately
- Sequential games using clapping, singing, placing, counting, puzzles, cards, drawing etc
Never underestimate the fact that because a person does not have typical language skills that they cannot understand everything or that they are not processing all that is going on around them.
For families and parents today we just want to let you know that we are with you and a collective voice is more powerful than one. So bringing awareness to all that you experience and hearing the unheard in your daily lives and holding you with love.