A blog written by Grandmother Sharon ….
Bella is almost 7,she is non-verbal, struggles with communication and not yet toilet trained. This is where the negatives end. When she was diagnosed with severe autism at age two and half we didn’t feel any of the grief or sadness that many other families feel. We knew. We were relieved to have the diagnosis as it meant we could take action. We researched it to death to find out what the future may hold for Bella. Forewarned is forearmed!
So let’s get the negatives out of the way, Bella can speak and has a very wide vocabulary, she also sings constantly, but she doesn’t use her words to communicate. She uses echolalia which takes some time to work out but her mommy (my daughter Lauren) is adept at interpreting it. Her communication skills are very poor. Although she can speak she hasn’t yet worked out that if she asks for things she will in all likelihood get them. She would rather drag you to the fridge and throw your hand toward whatever she wants, usually Fruit Shoot or Nutella. We encourage her to speak what she wants as we hope the practice will eventually give her the realisation that it works.
Not being toilet trained isn’t an issue for Bella, she doesn’t live with the same societal restraints and rules that most other 7 year olds do so it isn’t a problem for her. We feel it sometimes when she is out in public because we know other children may notice. But this is a skill that will be tackled when her mom and her school think the time is right.
Negatives out of the way….Bella is an absolute joy! Her knowledge is astounding given that she doesn’t take instruction. She knew her times tables before she was 4. She knew colours that I wasn’t even sure was a colour by the time she was 3 (cyan apparently is an aqua. Who knew?) She remembers songs and tunes easily. In fact on holiday last year she was singing a version of Twinkle Twinkle that we think was Portuguese and another that sounded like Hindi.
Bella is a whizz on the ipad and carries it everywhere with her. We don’t have that guilt of letting her use electronics all the time because this is how she learns. Thank goodness for YouTube! Yes we know it may add to her being “self” but she doesn’t want to communicate with anyone anyway so she may as well be learning.
As well as having a fantastic memory for words Bella has also taught herself to play keyboard. We think it is the pattern of the keys that she remembers and she knows when she has gone wrong. She can play a variety of nursery rhymes and other tunes she is familiar with. It really is remarkable to watch her.
I would love an hour in Bella’s head. Not just to see how we can best help her but I’d love to experience the world as she sees it, it looks amazing!
© 2017 All rights to this story including photos belong to the Author Sharon Needham published via SNUG (Special Needs United Grandparents).