When you are a parent to a child without speech it can be difficult.
Glimpses and guesses allow us to have a degree of understanding about our precious boy. Gestures, expressions, reactions and behaviour shape our limited understanding, as does hearing firsthand accounts from autistic people who share their experiences.
I rarely stop wondering about how Andy experiences the world and trying to enhance my ability to support him.
A rare visit to a football game had me reflecting once again. As I sat in the stadium listening to the shouts from fans it struck me how conflicting, confusing and startling the commands were.
” Hold it” “Send it long” ” Carry it” ” Give him it” “Shoot ” ” Don’t dive in ” ” Hit him”
The assault on the ears and the contradictions were ridiculous. Of course everyone is an expert at the football ! Being able to filter it out and concentrate on the game is manageable for most of us and the players couldn’t hear it on the pitch but it was perhaps another wee glimpse for me into how Andy experiences the world. Loud , invasive, confusing and unsettling is how I imagine my precious boy experiences busy environments and social situations. This insight also informs of course. It prompts me to speak slowly and clearly and to allow time for communication to be processed. Andy’s comprehension can at times be very good , especially if some thought is given to how you speak to him.