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‘A Day With No Words’ can be full of meaningful communication : NPR

by Editorial
‘A Day With No Words’ can be full of meaningful communication : NPR


An image from the book A Day With No Words.
An image from the book A Day With No Words.

Tiffany Hammond an her 16-year-old son Aidan talk in some acquainted methods, like hand gestures and physique language. However when Aidan desires to precise himself with phrases, he makes use of a pill.

Aidan is autistic and doesn’t communicate, so when his mother asks a query, he can push a button on the display to vocalize his reply.

Hammond additionally has autism, as does her youthful son and Aidan’s brother, Josiah. The household has designed routines round their diagnoses, however typically, folks outdoors the family do not perceive.

“Each single time we go outdoors the home, there’s one thing. There is a remark, there is a comment, there is a imply stare,” Hammond stated. “And you’re feeling alone rather a lot, and our household feels alone rather a lot.”

About 25-30% of individuals with autism do not communicate or communicate minimally, however that loneliness and people reactions from outsiders pushed Hammond to discover a option to signify the other ways during which autism can manifest. She stated when folks take a look at her son, they might not even assume he has autism or does not communicate.

The cover of the book A Day With No Words.

“However then as quickly as he makes noises, he grunts or he bounces slightly bit, or he makes use of his iPad to faucet that he desires fries or he desires to go to the park or no matter, that is whenever you get the stares,” Hammond stated.

The results of this expertise is a youngsters’s ebook from Hammond titled, A Day With No Phrases, illustrated by Kate Cosgrove. It follows Aidan by way of an everyday day, as he pushes buttons to inform his mother what he thinks or what he desires for lunch.

Hammond spoke with All Issues Thought of host Sacha Pfeiffer in regards to the significance of the ebook and what she hoped to perform with the writing and illustrations.

An image from the book A Day With No Words.

This interview has been calmly edited for size and readability.

Interview highlights

On what communication seems like for Aidan and his household

Again when my son was youthful and since he did not communicate, everybody would say, “Oh, he is nonverbal.” And that is all you’ll hear on a regular basis [from] professionals. And I am like, “However he is type of speaking with us, by way of his eyes; by way of pointing; by way of grabbing one thing and bringing it to me; by way of grabbing my hand and bringing me someplace; when he laughs after I make a joke; when he cries after I’m unhappy.” , all these expressions he had, I used to be like, that is communication. He is speaking with me. He is simply speaking in a unique sort of approach.

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So, as he bought older, the language began to vary round how non-speakers describe themselves and the way folks describe them. So these days, plenty of non-speaking folks discuss with themselves as non-speaking, as a result of each human on this planet communicates nonverbally.

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On capturing “the essence and fantastic thing about an autistic thoughts,” as a pediatrician described her ebook

It is indescribable, as a result of I bought one and I do not know how you can describe it. Like, there’s a lot that goes on, and I believe one of many greatest issues for me is that particularly Aidan, my oldest, he’s so free.

He’s simply lovely and worthy on his personal, and he is not caring what anybody has to say or do. He’s nonetheless going to be him. He is nonetheless spinning, he is nonetheless having enjoyable, he is nonetheless hugging timber, he is nonetheless laughing, he is leaping. And I really like that. I really like that for him.

An image from the book A Day With No Words.

On masking their diagnoses

Properly, you are concealing rather a lot. You are concealing the stuff you wanna say, the actions you really need to do, you are preventing in opposition to your self. It is like a warfare in your head. I used to be telling you, “Oh my gosh, I want to do that with my fingers. I have to twist them right into a approach that is actually snug for me as a result of I am actually burdened proper now, or that is what’s gonna calm me down.” However you are attempting to inform your self, “Do not do this. Do not be that approach. Do not look over right here. Individuals like eye contact, attempt to discover their eyes.” And also you’re attempting to inform your self all these items that folks will not maintain in opposition to you. And that is what masking is. And it isn’t the perfect factor on this planet, but it surely does maintain plenty of us secure in plenty of conditions.

An image from the book A Day With No Words.

On the sensory descriptions within the ebook

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One of many challenges I had with this ebook was like, what perspective do I write it from? I did not wanna communicate for [Aidan], however I am the closest to him. So I observe him, I see how he responds to all these completely different voices after they’re coming in, and I see how he kinda shrinks when the voice is loud and booming. However he is additionally type of nonetheless tuned in and type of listening, after which I see how he reacts when the voice is easy and delicate, after which I see how he reacts when there’s like plenty of voices coming in and he is attempting to select up on various things round him.

I needed to select up on all of the issues that I see in him and attempt to put that in a approach that folks can type of perceive and see and relate to. I really feel like lots of people that aren’t autistic can relate to one thing being too loud and that affecting them, or one thing being too quiet and that additionally affecting them.

An illustration in the book A Day With No Words.

On how folks’s feedback motivated Hammond, and her objectives for the ebook

It was meant to teach, but additionally I needed to focus on the bond that I’ve with my son, and it was speculated to type of function this love letter to him. I needed to indicate that he was like all the opposite children. He loves being outdoors and he loves swings, and he loves spinning in grass barefoot, and he simply loves life, this child. He likes to hug timber and loves fries, and he smiles and he laughs and he dances and he spins.

I needed to indicate that as effectively as a result of plenty of the instances after I would learn different books about disabilities or in autism typically, it was all about folks telling you what autism was like. Like, “That is autism, that is Aidan. Aidan has autism. This implies this, because of this.” And I needed to indicate the breadth of his humanity.


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