N is for… Non Verbal

Non verbal, my son is non verbal and first of all I need to clear up one thing…

Non verbal doesn’t necessarily mean that they cannot speak or that they don’t talk at all.

It can mean that they cannot hold a conversation

That that cannot answer questions

That they don’t understand that they need to speak to be able to communicate

It doesn’t mean mute, it can mean that they make a lot of sounds, just not speech

My son can talk…. he can… I have heard it

He is constantly saying ‘mum mum mum mum’ he is always saying ‘mums turn’ after his tea every night he says ‘milk’


What he can’t do is hold a conversation, if I asked him what he did today he would answer with ‘mum’, If I asked him what he wanted to do today he would say ‘mum’, if I wanted him to tell me what he wanted for his lunch today he would probably say ‘no’

He can’t tell me what he did at school, he can’t tell me he needs the loo, he can’t tell me what he ate at grandma’s for lunch, not because he doesn’t know these things, he does, he just can’t make the sounds and make the words.

But he can speak. We do his reading every night, he reads the words to me out loud, the words aren’t very clear, but he can say them, and he knows what they mean. It would just never occur to him to use these words in a conversation.

Its the non verbal part of his autism that I find the hardest, he has his PECs to help him communicate but as he doesn’t understand the need to communicate they get left and I have to push him to use them. They won’t help him have a conversation but they will help him to get his point across.


Another part of being no verbal that people need to remember is that just because a child or adult is unable to hold a conversation it doesn’t mean that they cannot hear you or that they can’t understand what you say.

This is very important, I remember telling the SENCO at my sons school that he understands much more that he will ever say, and she wasn’t convinced, she told me that she thought he had a learning difficulty, I disagreed and told her he has autism and he cannot communicate, he is learning and he is more able that she understands.

After a couple of months with his 1:1, in the next meeting she told me that I was right, he clearly has a higher level of understanding than he is able to communicate, don’t write someone off because they can’t talk. My son is still way behind his peers but he is able to learn and I was not going to let a SENCO tell me different.


2 thoughts on “N is for… Non Verbal

  1. This is an important post and I’m glad that you fought against their views and thoughts on your Son. I hope that your Son continues to improve and that more people treat him normally. Thanks so much for linking up at #fortheloveofblog. Claire x


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