I saw this article on My Autism Team about how non-verbal children try to communicate with people and all I could think of was "YES!!!"
I remember this, and this, and this time. How James adores Wall-e at home, because the robots communicate without words for so much of the story.
Even more, my own connection to the importance of spending chunks of quiet time with both kids. Over the past five years of sad things, frustrating things, falling apart things ... I have learned to "fall into calm." When the kids are hurt, storming, and all my mom plans and attempts at "normal life"stick their figurative tongues out at me and implode, stress levels soaring like a rocket launch, I have found that lowering my voice and imagining grounding images to make myself an anchor of calm is the most effective thing I can do. It also helps me "hear" what they are trying to say.
It makes sense, after all. These hyper sensitive people, whose nervous systems have already gone critical, don't need shouting or scolding. They are immune to embarrassment in this moment -- that's all my own show. Their ability to cope, regroup, and express are different and stuck from what most people know. There is a real person, trapped in there: sad, angry, hurt, frustrated as heck, and alone.
Who is there to model a more effective, socially acceptable behaviour? Well, often, me. And it is so easy to want to hush them and not make a scene. Clean up the messy behaviours. Assume you know what's going on (or worse, you're so tired and burnt out you just want it to stop) ... when I can get myself to stop and spend time with James and his sister, shutting out the Should and Expectations, I always learn something new about them, and realize I have been missing cues from them.
The best quality time experiences are lovely, lazy parcels of just being together and enjoying Right Now. And there are so man ways to open up to each other: playing, touch, drawing, photos, playing in nature, or music. Sometimes the best revelations and connections come from being able to fall into calm while surrounding by messy, howling chaos. Because sometimes this is when the kids most need us to hear what they are trying to say, in their own ways.
And do they appreciate that extra, focused time with them? Yes, they do.