Friday, July 17, 2015

When There are No Words, No Communication

Oh, this is indeed a topic.  Years ago, when we got Nik, I was introduced to a whole new world I did not know existed.  How could anyone communicate without talking I thought?!  We did not set out to adopt a deaf child.  Just telling the facts here folks.  In fact, our checklist specifically said no to deaf and blind as we personally never thought we'd be able to communicate with the children.  And knew nothing about braille.  Boy, sometimes there are bigger plans than you out there.  Let me just tell you that right now.  Nik came home unable to talk.  Unable to communicate his needs at all.  But, we didn't fall apart.  No one died.  It was going to be just fine.  Made me feel absolutely stupid for ever checking those items off on that list.  I can never imagine my life without my son.  But, this is not about me.  Back to the story.  Nik was smart.  He would look around and observe how things are done.  Then, mimic them.  He also as we know, had a knack for drawing.  If he knew I was going to the grocery store, he'd draw pictures of what he wanted & stick them in my pocket book.  I'd pull out drawings of ice cream or candy at the store.  Or, if we were out of something, he'd draw a picture and stick it in the fridge for me to find.

Point is, he found a way to communicate.  We all did.  Over the next couple of years, more communication issues with more kids.  Sofie came to us not really talking.  Now she talks but not many understand her.  Severe speech apraxia.  We try to mix her speech with sign but she has tremors so hard to understand the signs at times.  We're all working on it though.  And that's what counts. 

Nate came to us.  Whole different ballgame.  Non-verbal completely.  Some say well how do you know if anything is wrong.  That's when the maternal instincts kick in.  Like last night he was screaming in his crib and we had just put him down.  Different kind of scream.  Sounded like he was in pain so Warren went right away.  Sure enough, Nate had taken his foot, put it behind his head and gotten it stuck between the rails.  You just know.  When Nate scratches up his face, we know he has an ear infection.  When he shakes his head, he doesn't want any more to eat.  When he puts out hands together, he wants us to clap for him.  We are beginning to sign more with Nate as well.  Hoping he can get the basics down.  He is a very quick learner to be sure.  I'm proud of him.  I know many write him off but not me.  We know he can do more.  There is someone trapped inside there waiting to communicate.  So for now, reading his cues.  I spend a lot of time having conversations with him.  I speak and then answer too.  I answer the way I think he'd answer though sometimes think it comes out as Stewie on that Family Guy show.  I want Nate and Sofie and Nik to hear as many words as they can.  To learn what they mean.  Whether by voice or in sign.  I want them to have the ability to communicate their needs.  and, they do.  Each in their own special way.  Living with non-verbal children is very different.  It's not bad.  Only time I think it is bad when I can't figure out what is wrong.  I tend to harvest guilt from that at times b/c I feel as his mom I should know everything that is wrong with him.  But, we all are learning as we go to communicate in this non-verbal world we are experiencing.  We also however, have found great joy in the slightest gestures and his giggles/ smiles are worth it all. 

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