All Autism

Communication is a privilege

The idea that all autistic people can communicate is false and can also be dangerous.

There are kiddos and adults like Charlie who can’t even communicate when their life depends on it.

Charlie is eight, and even when he was extremely sick, he couldn’t tell us if anything was hurting, let alone where. He couldn’t point. He wasn’t able to tell us with his AAC device either. Nothing. Charlie can’t communicate most thoughts and feelings.

We saw close to 30 nurses and doctors over the last few days, and they all asked those oh-so-important questions. Is Charlie having headaches? Tummy aches? Is he in pain?

I didn’t know. I don’t know. I wish I did.

As a mom, seeing your child in the PICU is heartbreaking. Seeing your child so sick, with no way of communicating with him to know how he feels, is terrifying.

No, not everyone on the autism spectrum can communicate.

Severe autism is real, and severity levels are here for a reason. Just because you know someone who was nonverbal before learning to communicate, it doesn’t mean that all autistic people will.

Communication is a privilege, don’t forget it.

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1 Comment

  • Reply
    Angelina
    2021-09-23 at 9:30 AM

    Thank you for speaking about this! My son is level 2 and he just can’t communicate. Taking him to the dr is a nightmare because I just…don’t know anything. I don’t know what’s wrong. I don’t know where it hurts or if it hurts at all. He talks a lot, but it’s all echolalia and none of it is productive speech. He is capable of speech so the potential for verbal communication is there, but it’s also possible that he never will effectively communicate through speech and at 4 he doesn’t understand most forms of AAC. It’s just going to be a long time before we can understand more of his needs and feelings and those working with him can’t promise us anything. Level 2 autism is just such a grey area it seems.

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