I’ve said before that we found out a little while ago our daughter River is also on the Autism Spectrum and that she’s what you’d call non verbal. In our case this means it’s not that River can’t talk but she cant always use language in what could be seen as a meaningful way that makes sense to everyone else. What she says makes perfect sense to her and anyone she regularly speaks with but if you’re outside that you have a harder time. This makes life quite interesting at times. Curiously she uses a combination of phrases from Sarah and Duck, Peppa Pig as well and a smattering of words to talk to you. Unless you have seen the TV shows you sort of have no idea what’s going on. For example when she wants to get out of the bath River says “sorry ‘brella’ because there is an episode of Sarah and Duck where Sarah says it to Umbrella because he hates the bath and wants out. “Greedy duck” means you’re bit of a dumb ass and if she imitates George from Peppa Pig she’s somewhat displeased with whats happening.
The other part of her communication comes from looks and sounds. She’ll come an get you if she wants a drink and you go out and the cup and juice are on the bench. River also just points at things and uses one word. Pointing upward and saying ‘red’ repeatedly means she wants a red straw, but pointing up and looking surprised means she’s had an idea and sometimes she’ll say ‘ah ha!’. Now this makes it hard with things like being sick. Most kids can tell you they have a sore head or tummy. River doesnt she just cries. When something isn’t right or makes her unhappy there are no words or anything it’s just crying and more scarily she literally throws herself at the floor. There is a never ending cycle of bruised knees. To smooth all this over means you give her a hug and rock her back and forth, offer a lolly snake or repeat some version of “it’s alright/ok” until she calms down. Last week when she was sick I literally sat on the floor and rocked her because she felt unwell and I had NO idea what she wanted or how to help. I went through all the things, tried all the tricks and I got nothing so it was just rocking and cuddles.
I was asked recently again how I have so much patience for it all. I don’t have a choice not to be patient. River needs things and it’s my job as her mum to provide them and being patient is the only way to do it.