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A New Term in the Autism Community

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I’ve created a new term for the autism community. Or at least it is new to me. Want to know what it is?

non-verbal verbal

This explains my child these days. I’ve mentioned the invisible challenge of Aspergers syndrome and autism–communication. Well, when you add in anxiety, the challenge gets worse. If you ask my son a question, more than likely he will not answer or say, “Is it ok if I don’t answer?”

He is afraid of giving a wrong answer, no matter how simple the question. It may also be some OCD gone awry.

And so I live trying to avoid questions. That is really hard. Try it for the rest of the day!

I used to avoid “why” and “how” questions, rephrasing them to make them easier to understand or answer. Now I simply can’t ask questions.

Once in a while I can ask a question about an interest, such as Minecraft or a favorite book, but I’m not always guaranteed an answer. If it’s the right kind of question, I can sometimes ask a food related question, like, “Do you want some Chex?” [His favorite snack.]

So, that’s my new term– non-verbal verbal. It means a person who can talk, but won’t, for whatever reason.

I have to force myself to trust that God is bigger than this phase. That He knows what my son isn’t saying. That I don’t have to push with questions and push my son farther away. That I can rest in the silence.

Wow. That’s hard, isn’t it?

And while we wait, please don’t think my son is rude if he doesn’t answer you. He’s just having a hard time.

So, here’s my question for you, special needs parents…Do you have a new term? I’d love to hear it! Leave me a comment.

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Jenny Herman

Jenny Herman wants to live in a world where dark chocolate dispensers reside on every corner.

As a homeschooling special needs mom, she’s been featured in Autism Parenting Magazine, Wit and Wisdom from the Parents of Special Needs Kids: Mostly True Stories of Life on the Spectrum, and various blogs.

If she survives the onslaught of testosterone in her home, she may take a moment to blog, read a book, try a new recipe, or loom knit a gift.

You can find Jenny’s book The Power of One: Change Your Perspective, Change Your Life on Amazon.

4 thoughts on “A New Term in the Autism Community

  1. Here’s my word conditioned verbal or better yet nonfunctional verbal ? Aiden is beginning to speak but only repeats what we say or what he hears on tv. And as you know his speech is unclear which defeats the whole purpose of language as there is a communication gap. How about this one nonfunctional verbal? Hehe or a “mind the gap verbal” hahaha

  2. This is so true about my son as well. If someone asks him a question that he doesn’t want to answer sometimes he responds with “I don’t know.” If it’s any of his family members, he’ll say “I don’t know, just leave me alone.” It’s hard to explain that to people. Thank you so much for sharing. I’ll have to tell my husband about that term. 🙂

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