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Happy Girl Signing at Deaf Film Camp

A girl using sign language (source)

Some autistic people are nonverbal, meaning that they do not use speech to communicate. Nonverbal autistic people may use alternative and augmentative communication (AAC) including typing, sign language, facilitated communication, picture exchange communication systems, and more.

Nonverbal adults

Around 20% of autistic adults are nonverbal. Examples of nonverbal autistic adults include Amy Sequenzia and Amanda Baggs.

Nonverbal adults can live full and meaningful lives. They may do most of their social networking through text chats and texting. They may especially enjoy the company of other nonverbal or partially verbal disabled people, because they may find them to be more patient and accepting.

Nonverbal children

Nonverbal children can communicate through AAC. Many children start off with the Picture Exchange Communication System before moving on to either verbal speech or more advanced AAC.[1]

AAC allows children to develop language and communication skills. They can use it at home to express needs, wants, and feelings, and to bond with their loved ones. In many cases, it is a stepping stone to verbal speech. In others, the nonverbal child will grow into a nonverbal adult.

Nonverbal children should be given as many opportunities to communicate and be heard as possible. It is also beneficial for them to be exposed to language, including reading books and having their loved ones talk to them in full sentences.

References

  1. Autism Acceptance Month: AAC for Toddlers and Pre-Kindergarten Children (PDF)

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