Yes, I’m Nonverbal. But That Doesn’t Mean I’m Unintelligent.


Screen Shot 2015-01-30 at 9.26.24 AM All people communicate, but not everyone talks.

Some people talk a little but not conversationally. Some people say words and phrases out loud that don’t match what they really want to say.

Sometimes I use talking words, but I’m still very much nonverbal. Saying words out loud is not always possible or accurate for me. My pronunciation of words isn’t totally clear, and I say words in a different order than most people would. I can more fully express myself using a letter board or Proloquo2Go.

Many times I say nonsensical things like, “Larry boy!” or “Go back to green house!” and I repeat it many times for no reason. I hear myself and think, Boy, I sound ridiculous; and I wish I could stop, but I have no control.

When people ask me things, I know exactly what I want to say, but there is an ever-present blockade between my brain and my mouth. It is extremely frustrating, as you can imagine.

Especially damning are the assumptions that my intelligence is low because of my thwarted attempts to respond the way others expect — with verbal words. I can remember a time when a person said to Mom that I have a very low IQ of 40, and I wanted to scream, “No!” But I couldn’t. It was horrible not to be able to defend myself.

I sincerely, altruistically, hope and pray that more autism pros like teachers and doctors will realize that autism causes major issues with getting the body to cooperate with the brain to respond. But ability to comprehend is unaffected. This will make way for more appropriate help for people with autism.

This post originally appeared on Red Roses for Autism.

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