Speech is something that we all take for granted, we do it all the time without even thinking, its just part of our lives, but can you imagine what it would be like if you couldn’t speak, if you couldn’t tell someone your most basic needs?
This is what someone with Autism might have to deal with every day, but its not something that every autistic person struggles with, since Autism is a spectrum disorder you will find that some people are much more affected by it than others.
Sometimes its not the actual speech that’s the problem. Sometimes its the situation, at home they may be able to talk quite freely but in a social situation they may become mute as they become overwhelmed by what is going on around them.
Sometimes its that they don’t understand why you need to talk, they don’t see the point in idle chatter and therefore when it comes down to developing speech it just never happens. This could be because without the chatter and the repetitive sounds that toddlers make, the speech doesn’t develop. This is what happened to my son, he has daily speech therapy now to help him to develop those sounds that he never learnt as a baby.
There are also those that can talk endlessly about something that interests them, but when asked about something else totally freeze and then not be able to speak, again this can be down to being overwhelmed.
There are lots of things out there to help someone who cannot speak to communicate, this varies from computer programs on tablets, PECs, sign language, or even a simple pen and paper.
One thing that everyone needs to remember however when they are around someone that is non verbal is that not speaking doesn’t mean not hearing, I have had people speak to my son like he is deaf when I have said he is non verbal. It also doesn’t mean not understanding. They hear you, they understand what you say, just be patient and ask them to show you if they can’t say what it is that they are trying to say.