To speak or to communicate?


This is the question.


Dylan has made progress in leaps and bound in recent weeks. He’s growing in confidence with him making greater efforts to speak at a good audible volume and direct his vocalisations towards those he is communicating with. Great news however this development has highlighted just how incomprehensible his speech is.

So what do we do, encourage him to try verbally to speak and then redirect him to the pad in the hope the practice will improve his articulation with the iPad giving and understandable version of the request or statement?

The only issue with this is with the wider world. The problem is that the public that Dylan speaks to who don’t understand him don’t know to redirect him to his iPad. He is relying heavily on us to prompt the use of the iPad at the moment.

It feels unclear as to whether by ensuring that Dylan not understood will prompt him to independently use the iPad or whether it will make him feel excluded and misunderstood or not listened to. He is still emotionally so fragile that the rejection of people ignoring his emerging speech due to not understanding it could be so detrimental to his psychological wellbeing. He’s trying so hard and I fear that even my ‘Sorry Dylan, I don’t understand. Can you use your iPad?’ is making him feel bad or damaging his developing desire to communicate.

Or do we cut out all speech verbally and use the iPad full time as the only acceptable way to make needs known. It feels like were giving up on the verbal speech which is fine is it means it’s okay for Dylan but that is a hard judgement to make on his behalf.

Scrap that. Giving up on speech isn’t fine. 

Dylans trying so hard.

Over and over again repeating the same jumbled sounding phonics to try and help us piece together the words he is trying to say.

He looks deep at us, almost trying to mentally fling the words in our direction where his mouth is failing him.

Never angry or blaming. Just trying again and again.

I admire his calm determination. To be so calm when the situation must be so frustrating is commendable and would escape many.  

We can’t give up on speech,  we just can’t. There must be a way to manage speech and communication together to ensure that it is effective.



3 thoughts on “To speak or to communicate?

  1. The fact that he’s relying on you to prompt use of the iPad suggests he wants to communicate verbally, I agree.
    Don’t give up on speech. However when he is trying to ‘mentally fling’ words at you, don’t give up on that either. He’s using telepathy then and maybe with practice, you can tune into that. Not the rest of the world admittedly, but maybe you… x

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. Reading the post back its all so garbled but that’s how it is swimming around in my head. The development and desire to communicate is so complex. I genuinely had no idea.

      Thank you for your reassuring comment. I won’t give up x

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Me am thinks you is do fine. With me to me try make noise to communicate (even tho can do way less than Dylan) and then if not understanding me will find on AAC. But a thing to practice is for ordering food to has ready on iPad first (or if has sentence buttons that is fast to push) because those places can be more hard for people understanding what says. And 1 more tip that me am still work on is to show the wait a minute finger when someone not understanding so you needs type so them know is not ignore them.


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