Experience stories

Communication Perspectives


Knowing your child will be nonverbal is hard. It has even made me question the teacher in me dictating everything I do and see to model language for Aisley. I thought, “What’s the point of modeling language if she will never talk?”.

Although I know it is still important to model language because Aisley can understand language and has receptive language, those are my honest, hopeless thoughts that have come to mind. (Receptive language is the “input” of language, the ability to understand and comprehend spoken language you hear or read.)

I was interested in learning American Sign Language (ASL) from the beginning. Aisley and I would watch “Signing Time” together and practice our new signs. The most repeated sign we would try was “mom,” “dad,” and “more.” I know for a fact Aisley has intentionally signed Mom and Dad at least once; then, it never happened again. We are holding our breath until we see it once more.

Aisley finally started to wave after her fourth birthday. We are so thrilled when she does it!

In the spring, at the end of Aisley’s first year in preschool, she received an AAC device through S.E.L.P.A. I asked for it, hoping for more engagement and success to assist Aisley’s communication. After participating in the CdLS Foundation’s webinar on AAC devices, I felt validated for advocating for this early in her education. One of Aisley’s speech therapists gave me a sense of relief when she told me to use the device to model language rather than the pressure for Aisley to engage and press the correct word/image. This advice has made navigating the new app (she’s using Go Talk Now on an iPad) and device a lot less stressful.

I do not know if Aisley will learn sign language or how to communicate with her AAC device. I want to try all the tools available in hopes something clicks. Having a four ½-yearold who cannot tell us how she feels is heartbreaking. It makes you feel helpless at times. We will hold on to hope that Aisley will learn to use signs or her AAC device. Until then, we will listen to Aisley’s vocalizations, cries, laughs, smiles, and body language as her way of communicating.

Find other pages that share the same topic as this page Communication and language15 Communication and language9 Communication and language9
Emily Peterson
Emily Peterson

We want to thank Aishly’s Mama, Emily Peterson, for sharing Aishly’s story with us.

Page history
Last modified by Gerritjan Koekkoek on 2023/10/24 17:26
Created by Gerritjan Koekkoek on 2023/10/24 17:15

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