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© 2023 by inTune Pathways 

ABN 78 435 698 441

Communication at Home

July 20, 2019

In our house, we use a range of communication methods.
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It hasn’t always been that way.
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When Miss 8 was initially diagnosed, we engaged a team of therapists and a therapy that was compliance based.
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We just didn’t know what we know now, and experience is the best teacher.
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Rather than exploring and working with what works best for her, we were instructed which way of communication she should be using and we worked at that.
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We tried communication with her this way for six months.
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And the result?
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Six years later, six years of resistance to engage in any form of therapy or to try any form of communication, here we are.
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There is a significant and profound difference between compliance and support.
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We had to rebuild her trust.
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We had to take a step back and let go, and provide her the space, time and freedom she required in order to trust us not to expect or demand anything of her that was unrealistic.
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When our children are non speaking, we need to take time to understand and to learn how they process.
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Yes, always assume competence and intelligence, but deciding our children are absolutely capable of doing something and working at it with force over and over is damaging.
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Traumatising.
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It has taken six years for her to feel safe enough to let us see, for her to demonstrate what she knows.
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It is a lifelong process of self forgiveness for her father and I.
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Our children grow and develop at their own rates.
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Today we follow her lead always.
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And we honour every single request.
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We use a combination of sign, visual cards, a visual board and a communication device that verbalises the words she chooses.
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Parents are often more stressed, panicked, and in despair because their child may not appear to ‘respond’ to certain therapies.
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But are we completely overlooking their right to autonomy?
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Are we supporting them by exploring gently and patiently over time what works for them?
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Are we tuning in to their communication? All of it?
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When we use force, when we continue to do the same thing over and over and expect different results but not get them..
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It isn’t our child that is not learning.
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It’s us.
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We should never deny or dismiss a preferred method of communication in favour of another.
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That’s the fastest way of reinforcing insecurity and lack of trust.
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We honour EVERY request.
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When she chooses pasta for breakfast,
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We honour it.
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We have a lot of making up to do.
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Amends.
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Love, trust and safety.
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And as time passes, she allows us to see her..
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More and more.
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Honour your child.
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Honour their difference.
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Attempting to fit them into those round holes is debilitating and disarming and adversely affects their sense of self.
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Acceptance is everything.
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Kristy Forbes
inTune Pathways
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💕

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