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What causes a person to be "non-verbal"?

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I feel like I've filled my "question quota" for the week, but you are all so unbelivably helpful. Hope you don't mind another one! 

I'm really struggling to understand what "non-verbal" is, and how it happens. My son's a year and a half, and babbles a bit and said "more bubble" once, which was basically a miracle that never happened again. That was during a sensory exercise with his OT, by the way. She said it was because he's getting more "organized". 

The thing is, my husband and I are both on the spectrum as well, and we both have "non-verbal" moments. My husband will go mute from time to time, and I frequently have moments where I lose up to 50% of my verbal language, maybe even more. I just don't really understand why that is. I don't understand what happens to us, all I know is that the words dissappear. They reappear later on, and then I kick myself for not being able to spit them out when I would have wanted to. 

Anyway...I would so greatly appreciate it if someone could give me a little bit of information on this. 

Thanks :)

by on Dec. 31, 2012 at 5:06 PM
Replies (21-28):
by Bronze Member on Jan. 1, 2013 at 8:19 AM
It's the way your brain is. It's 'wired' differently. If you look at the brain scan of a person on the spectrum and compare it to a 'neurotypical' they're different. People on the spectrum tend to have a bigger brain size... The activity in either brain is pretty different. The human brain is such an interesting thing :-)
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by on Jan. 1, 2013 at 9:15 AM
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I'm pretty much the same way.  I don't say a whole lot unless the  topic is something that I'm interested in or pretty knowledgeable about, and then I will not shut up.  Growing up, I would go to school and barely speak to anyone.  My teachers would all comment on how quiet I was to my mom; however, once I got home I would recount every little detail of my day (repeatedly) to my mom until she would finally have to ask me to be quiet. I'm still very bad about repeating myself and not noticing it.

I'm terrible on the phone, too.  I tend to vary to the extremes on the phone.  If I called someone my mom or my husband usually it is to tell them something specific,  If they, also, have something to say I tend to interrupt them and repeat myself over and over.  However, when they call me I tend to not have anything to say and there is a lot of  "uh-huhs" and silence on my end.  

If I have to make a call to schedule an appointment or something, I can't just do it.  I practice those calls in my heads dozens of times before I can actually pick up the phone and call.  If I know I'm going to see someone on a particular day, I'll map out an entire conversation in my head.

I'm, also, very bad about just trailing off mid sentence.  Most of the time, I don't even realize I did it until my husband or someone tries to finish my sentence for me.

I think I'm hilarious, and I have an almost infinite supply of random quotes from tv shows in my head that I insert into random conversations.  Yeah, most people don't find that anywhere near as amusing as I do.

Quoting kajira:

I've always preferred writing, and telling stories, i'm actually a writer to this day, and am working on becoming a published author.

I didn't always like to talk, but if you get me started, I have a hard time shutting up - and half the time it won't make sense if i'm not careful and don't prescript every word/sentence I speak. I tend to only stick to topics I have practiced in my head, or written about or read enough about to have some clue how to form the words together to talk.

Like, when I talked to a friend on this group on the phone, nothing I said to her wasn't stuff I've talked about with my husband, or wrote down and figured out how to phrase... if it wasn't for that practice before I talked to her on the phone, I would have just probably said nothing. i've talked to her on the phone before when I was struggling to figure out what to say, but when I called her that one time (okay, she called me.) it was with a specific topic in mind and I was able to talk for a long time on that one topic.

If I can't figure out what to say, or don't have a topic, or am caught on the fly, I can't talk well at all.

Quoting MomtoLou:

A question for you wonderful ladies. My son (in the process of testing for ASD, it's suspected high functioning) he just refuses to speak. Won't speak to teachers, kids, adults, anyone. He can speak. He will speak to me, his dad, but his sister he mainly squaks at like an animal. I think because it gets a reaction out of her and she barks back t him. He's just discovered writing and has been writing pages and pages of stories for me. Wonderful stories. Yet, he still won't talk. Is that what it was like for you ladies as kids? Not that you don't want to, but just that it was harder to talk then to stay quiet?

by on Jan. 1, 2013 at 10:07 AM
All I thought was WOW! That's incredible and Thst it happens to you and you do not understand it but yet u live it. Kudos to you.. I wonder this daily as my son is not verbal and I need to understand Why
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by on Jan. 1, 2013 at 12:03 PM

Just chiming in to say that this thread is absolutely fascinating!!!!! I'm going to respond to individual comments later when I get a few minutes. I'll have my husband describe his "mute moments" (which can stretch on for hours at a time) as well. 

by on Jan. 1, 2013 at 2:18 PM
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I think for me it is an overload of info.  Too much info/stimuli = short circuit.  Bu that is best as I can explain it. 

by Gold Member on Jan. 1, 2013 at 5:18 PM

Totally understand now.  Thank you.  I have Central Auditory Processing Disorder (a brain disorder) and have difficulties understanding what people are saying when they give me too much information and I do not like loud noises.  Loud noises hurt my ears.  Sometimes when people talk too much or it is noisy in the room I have to remember to tell people to explain what they say in a different way so I can answer to them correctly.  If I don't my answer will be totally the opposite or have nothing to do with what they stated.  I understand your embarressment because I can feel the same way too. 

by on Jan. 1, 2013 at 7:23 PM

For my son who is only 2.5 I can see that he knows a lot of words, he'll use them spontaneously at times, and then when asked 'what is that?" or a similar question he'll have trouble finding the word he wants.  Our speech therapist had us initially prompting him with the full word ("duck" or "truck") and now we offer just the initial starting sound so "du" or "trrr" and he'll immediately pipe up with the right word.  So for him it seems that it's a matter of 1) realizing we are waiting for a verbal response (which took a while) and 2) going inside his head, finding the word, and then being able to say it. 

by on Jan. 2, 2013 at 12:11 PM

My son is 2 and he is non verbal. They explained it to us as his brain is wired differently. What he hears is if someone was talking in a different language.

I find it curious he can mimic sounds with no problem, but putting it together into words he hasnt be able to figure out.

The speech therapist calls it "voice on" and "voice off". My son hasnt figured out how to turn his voice on yet. He makes sounds with his voice off..

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