It’s no secret that my youngest son, Joshua, is non-verbal. We’ve spent the last 30-some years learning to communicate. In April we attended the Pikes Peak Writer’s Conference. Joshua didn’t attend the whole conference but he did manage to take in a few workshops and a few lunches.
I forget that Josh and I communicate without words. His body language is good and I am conditioned to understand his needs and wants. Sitting at a table for lunch I asked Joshua a question. I can’t remember what it was and he told me yes. The lady sitting next to Josh got a funny look on her face and asked me, “How did you know what he said?”
That may be the most asked question I get. How do I know what Joshua says? Some of it is body language. Some of it is vocalization. I can’t call it words because its not but it is sound. He has certain moves he makes that tell me when he needs something. He uses eyes to clue me in on topics. It’s like a really sophisticated game of Charades. I don’t think about how we do it.
Now, through the wonders of technology, my son is learning how to speak. I have discovered its not just Joshua that needs to learn a new language. I’m also learning to communicate, and talk to him, in a new way. As we travel this new path, it is my intention to share the journey. From the non-verbal, to the ins-and-outs of augmentative communication.
I’m starting with the basics. This is how Joshua tells me yes and no. I should say, this is how Josh used to tell me yes and no. We still use non-verbal when he’s not in front of his computer. With the functionality of the Tobii computer, he can actually say the words out loud now.