What Education Do You Need To Be A Music Therapist Not Talking Vs Not Having Anything to Say

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Not Talking Vs Not Having Anything to Say

Not speaking is not the same as having nothing to say. This is a common statement by speech and other therapists about their clients who are considered non-verbal, but not always able to communicate.

Many children with special needs are considered non-verbal or non-verbal. When doctors say this, it means that children use few words or don’t speak at all. They may or may not make some noise in the relationship. They support these sounds and may even use gestures to communicate with the people around them. Working with children with limited language skills can be frustrating for the adults around them, but even more so for the child trying to communicate.

Often these children understand what is being said around them much more than they can express it in response. In other words, their receptive language skills are more developed than their expressive skills. They may feel trapped in their own mind and behave accordingly. “Negative” actions such as hitting, kicking, slapping, pinching, etc. may express their frustration. Good therapists and teachers seek to find solutions to these relationship problems rather than immediately labeling them as behavioral problems.

Most of these children are sign language. Fine motor skills can develop faster than oral motor skills, so children can move their hands and speak before using their mouths. More, everything is done, help, mine, etc. simple signs can express a variety of needs and desires. These can be learned by parents and therapists using hands-on communication techniques until the child is able to do it on their own or find their words in other ways.

Another way is to use photos or line drawings to communicate. Some children are visually impaired. Pictures are more meaningful to them and make them easier to use for learning and communication. Being able to give a photo to an adult and get what you want can be a huge achievement for a child who has had difficulty communicating in the past.

For those who still struggle to communicate what they want and need to others, the arsenal of communication tools is growing. From simple switches that turn on a toy or push a single notification, to miniature computers for complex sentences, iPads, and multi-screen communications, many children are turning to technology to interact with others in their environment. For many families, using a communication device is the first time they can hear their child’s thoughts and what they need.

Speech therapists and communication specialists can determine which device is right for each child through evaluation. No two children are the same, and the same system may never work well for a child. These tools don’t have to be the last word in communication for these kids. For some people, letting go of the frustration of not being able to communicate improves their communication skills. The ultimate goal is to give every child access to the tools they need to express themselves. After all, not speaking is not the same as having nothing to say.

©R. Wellman 2011

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