#5. Alec Speaks!
The term “non-verbal” is often associated with the word “can’t”. “Your child can’t speak.” “Your child can’t communicate appropriately with peers.”
My son Alec is one of 3 siblings on the autism spectrum. He is non-verbal. Alec doesn’t speak. Alec doesn’t communicate appropriately with peers. Alec was diagnosed with autism as early as 12 months of age. He developed slowly, in the midst of immeasurable frustration, due to his inability to make his needs known. He was encouraged by several of his therapists to incorporate sign language and the use of pictures to relay his thoughts and requests. Alec was unable to adapt to either concept. Alec was a little over 2 when he independently began typing words in the search bar of his father’s iPod. Alec, like many children on the spectrum, chose not to respond to work that minimized his capability. The concept of speech appears to minimize what autistic children are truly capable of.
By age 3, Alec was independently browsing the internet for language tutorials. Alec’s first spoken words were in Italian; a language not spoken by anyone in our family. As suddenly as we were blessed with the sound of his voice, the language ceased permanently. It was then that I learned how far ahead of the game Alec truly was. Alec could read, Alec could spell, Alec could type, Alec could speak!
By age 5, Alec discovered a passion for music; namely, The Beatles. I was unaware that the part of the human brain that processes speech is entirely separate from that which processes musical lyrics. Alec’s obsession with The Beatles, allows me to hear my son’s beautiful voice through lyrics every day. Although Alec doesn’t speak to me directly, or call me “mom”, I know am one of the lucky ones. Hope is knowing one can, rather than can’t. My understanding of Alec’s knowledge can no longer be put into words. When I hear my non-verbal son sing every word to The Beatles, Let it Be, I am the one left speechless.
College Point, NY
NEXT for #4. Mia Bella’s StoryWhizzco