Six years ago I was really struggling. I was heavily pregnant with my youngest and my eldest was a toddler. I was exhausted, at 18 months old he wasn’t sleeping, communicating or interacting and I felt like such a failure. Fast forward to now and whilst my 8 year old is non-speaking he does communicate in a variety of ways. More importantly I can now confidently communicate with him.
Getting help when it is needed
I didn’t have any experience with children so it was always hard to know what expectations I should have around communication. Every time I spoke to anyone about concerns I got the same response: ‘boys often take longer, don’t worry about it’.
Well I did worry about it, a lot. When you are really struggling this is not what you need to hear over and over you just need some help. Thankfully I listened to my gut instinct and pushed for a referral to speech and language with our Health Visitor.
Now we have had a lot of different speech therapists, SEN specialists and other professionals in our lives over the past 6-7 years. Some of them were fantastic and some not so much but they have all taught us different ways to communicate with our kids. The biggest problem with getting professional help is the time it takes to see anyone. Even when you do get seen quickly or pay privately for speech therapists you will likely only be seeing them once a week.
One of the first things we are encouraged to do is get our kids in nursery or pre-school so they can get more help there. But even with a great nursery placement the majority of time is still spent at home with me – a mum who didn’t know anything about speech and language support.
Learning about communicating
I do think the information is out there but I certainly struggled to find it when I needed it. There are lots of amazing books about communication but in all honesty with a new baby and a toddler I didn’t have much reading time available! The professionals I was working with rarely explained anything in detail and I needed more information. Eventually I found that information mostly in courses aimed at professionals. The useful parenting courses did come but often after a long wait.
I think the stress of waiting for appointments with professionals really stopped us from getting on with doing more at home. There is so much we do now with my 6 & 8 year olds that I wish we had been doing more of when they were toddlers. These are just some of the reasons I started The Autism Page. It is really important to me that parents can access support and information they need when they need it.
Communicating with a non-speaking child
One thing I have wanted to do since I started The Autism Page is develop a course that pulls together that key information I needed on communication in one place. I have finally done that. I have combined all the information I wish had been given to me when I started out trying to support my non-speaking toddler.
This is my first online course and it is designed for parents looking for practical communication strategies. I have tried to keep it short and in an easy to access format. This is because I want it to be user friendly to parents who don’t have much time.
The course looks at building attention and communication skills. Using visual aids and alternative communication methods alongside interaction and visual learning techniques. If you are looking for different ways to support your child with communication this course is designed to help you.
Want to become confident with communication strategies
If you are interested in learning more about different communication strategies then ‘Communicating with a non-speaking child’ is here to help. For just £30 you get lifetime access to the course with 2 hours of video presentation and supporting printables.
For those of you this course isn’t suitable for please do give it a share on your social media so we can get it to the people who do need it. To find out more about accessing the course go to The Autism Page online school