That’s why I feel passionate about creating a simple means of communication that incorporates independent choice which can be universally understood. Because it is much harder to discriminate against someone who has the ability to tell tales.
It is why I feel so passionate about getting the parents, teachers, tutors, supervisors, therapists and carers of these people to enable them to access this means.
You see, these kids (and young adults) are all actively communicating and shaping our behaviour in order to meet their needs right now. How do they do it?
See if you can guess what these kids are really saying:
These photographs were sent to me by good friends of small children. In each case it was possible to catch and hold or physically re-direct the child to a better way of getting their needs.
Because at the moment when Charlie pulls her Gran’s hair to get her to stop talking, it is kind of cute. But if Charlie was 23 and that was the only way she knew to get someone to help her find a quiet space, people might be a lot less understanding.
Adults with intellectual impairment or communication disabilities will often end up medicated and in residential care because they had no appropriate way of getting people to listen to what they need and want. The hair pulling, the dragging, the running away or the self-harm really got people’s attention quickly. And without anyone dedicated to teaching them to communicate by alternative means – disruptive, aggressive and distressing behaviours are their only way to be heard.
Make a commitment to learning what your child is really saying and give them the power to say it another way.