Talking Less, Sharing More

I just began reading the blog, Jacob’s Journey. It is a chronological success story of a family who used RDI with their autistic son. To read it in order from when they began RDI, start from the bottom of this page, and read up. Then, click on the next month in the archives section in the right sidebar and start again from the bottom.

For where we are with Zip, I found this post about declarative language to be very inspiring. The author explains how using mostly experience-sharing language with her son made a real difference in his communication. Having my son share an observation with us would be such a magic moment. He points out shapes and colors and some items to us, but I think it is more that he wants us to label it. Though, of course, we were excited when he began doing that.

My son does not speak in sentences. He can ask for what he wants, but uses one or two words. He repeats alot of the songs and phrases he hears from videos, computer games, and electronic toys. When he really wants something he will string together 4 or 5 words, all nouns or verbs, no pronouns or prepositions. He seems to do this when it is something emotional, like being scared or when I have to leave him.

My husband and I are committing to using 80% declarative language with our son and to increasing our non-verbal communication with him. It is hard and feels very artificial at first, but I think it will get easier. We’re just very aware and feeling awkward, not sure how to express ourselves.

Already, I’ve noticed that I feel more connected to my son while doing this. Not sure exactly what I mean by that – maybe the quality of our communication has improved somehow.

On another note, we have a wonderful dog who I am very connected with. He is acutely aware of my facial expressions, non-verbal noises, and tone of voice. Often, when I get upset about something, I automatically reassure the dog that it’s okay because I know he’s getting upset, too. It’s almost too ironic for words.

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