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Autism - Support Across the Spectrum Autism - Support Across the Spectrum

Is it verbal or non-verbal?

Posted by on Jan. 7, 2013 at 8:27 PM
  • 9 Replies

Hi all,

I am a little confused about this. What is considered verbal or non-verbal.

My daughter says words like dog,cat,cloud, duck, car, wheel, star, ball etc a few numbers, shapes and points in a book or anywhere she sees. But she is not communicating with words like "Give me". "it's mine"  

She says "me" and points at the object to say what she wants. she will point at a Banana and say "nana" and then put a finger on her mouth telling us she wants to eat. I understand this is communication but is all this considered Verbal or non-verbal?

by on Jan. 7, 2013 at 8:27 PM
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Replies (1-9):
humbledmom310
by Kelly on Jan. 7, 2013 at 8:50 PM

Speech is divided into two parts. There is expressive language( what words you actually speak) and receptive language(what words you actually understand.) My son has always been higher in his receptive language than his expressive. When he was younger if we asked him to point to the zebra, he could, but he could not say the word zebra. Slowly his expressive language would trail behind his receptive language. The fact that your daughter says a few words and is slowly progressing and building a vocabulary based on her receptive language.(meaning she is understanding what she is saying and not JUST using echolalia) . All though Some echolalia is common.Then she would be considered VERBAL  but with a SPEECH DELAY.

VioletsMomTown
by Robyn on Jan. 7, 2013 at 9:11 PM

My daughter is the same, it was called "functionally non-verbal" meaning she can communicate her needs without using words. She also has many words, putting them into sentences to communicate is the issue. She's improving every day, they will get there.

Violet's Mom

Twitter @autismnotebook

humbledmom310
by Kelly on Jan. 7, 2013 at 9:37 PM

From what I understand "functionally non-verbal" would be if she had a higher receptive language IQ and was using other ways to communicate what was in her head , without ANY or Very Little expressive language and was not progressing in this area. Now if her expressive language is progressing even with just "nouns" and coinciding with her receptive language IQ ,this is considered verbal with a speech delay. Verbs, adjectives, pronouns and possessive pronouns are normally harder for a ASD person to understand because they are more abstract concepts without anything concrete to identify it with. These usually take longer to emerge ,but do emerge in these verbal children.

emarin77
by Silver Member on Jan. 7, 2013 at 10:27 PM

Well she is verbal if she can speak words from her mouth.  Non verbal means not using the mouth to form words.  Give me is a command verbally.  It's mine shows ownership verbally.  If pointing with finger, nodding head, and showing expressions with your face are all part of non verbal communication.

VioletsMomTown
by Robyn on Jan. 7, 2013 at 10:36 PM

I wish my pediatrician saw it that way. Maybe I should give you her number and you can straighten her out. lol I like your explanation better. The truth is, she was not talking much during her evaluation, but had some words then, and luckily has developed many since. Its only been about 6 months. So she's verbal now, with a delay. Sounds good to me.

Quoting humbledmom310:

From what I understand "functionally non-verbal" would be if she had a higher receptive language IQ and was using other ways to communicate what was in her head , without ANY or Very Little expressive language and was not progressing in this area. Now if her expressive language is progressing even with just "nouns" and coinciding with her receptive language IQ ,this is considered verbal with a speech delay. Verbs, adjectives, pronouns and possessive pronouns are normally harder for a ASD person to understand because they are more abstract concepts without anything concrete to identify it with. These usually take longer to emerge ,but do emerge in these verbal children.


lady_katie
by Silver Member on Jan. 8, 2013 at 12:17 PM

I'm confused about this too. Maybe someone can give me their opinion on whether or not my son is verbal or non-verbal. I tell people that he's non-verbal because all he says is "hi" and "bubble" (he can barely say these, but my husband and I know what he means). He babbles "mama" and "dada" but does not appear to realize that these are actual words. He barely communicates in any way, and certainly not verbally. He'll sign for "more" or "all done" sometimes (once every few days at best) and he's just starting to use a very basic picture board. The picture board is prooving to be successful, but again, that's not verbal communication. I feel like he's technically verbal, but it doesn't make sense to describe him as being verbal because he's really not talking in any meaningful way at all. 

He's a year and a half, by the way. I'm not even sure how many words he's "supposed" to have by now anyway. Some sources that I read say at least 12, but then other sources say it's more like at least 20. 

BrownMommy
by on Jan. 8, 2013 at 7:10 PM

Hmm...I don't think it is especially intricate.  If a kid can use words to communicate and verbalize their wants and needs then they are a verbal child.  There are certainly ranges of how verbal a child can be, given various delays.  If the kid can't speak or use words to communicate their wants and needs then they are non verbal.  I have a non verbal child, I know exactly what it means to communicate verbally and to not do so. If a kid has a handful of words that they can use spontaneously and properly why would they not be considered verbal?  

BrownMommy
by on Jan. 8, 2013 at 7:15 PM

I would not consider your son verbal.  He is saying mama dada and bubbles and hi, but are they always with purpose?  Your son sounds a lot like my DD although DD is almost 4....she says bubble, and balloon and bye-bye and dada- but the catch is that she rarely says them, we just know she can and it all still sounds like baby talk "bu-bu' for bubbles etc...then again your son is 1 1/2 so there is probably a totally different range of expectation. He has plenty of time to catch up and talk your head off :-)

Quoting lady_katie:

I'm confused about this too. Maybe someone can give me their opinion on whether or not my son is verbal or non-verbal. I tell people that he's non-verbal because all he says is "hi" and "bubble" (he can barely say these, but my husband and I know what he means). He babbles "mama" and "dada" but does not appear to realize that these are actual words. He barely communicates in any way, and certainly not verbally. He'll sign for "more" or "all done" sometimes (once every few days at best) and he's just starting to use a very basic picture board. The picture board is prooving to be successful, but again, that's not verbal communication. I feel like he's technically verbal, but it doesn't make sense to describe him as being verbal because he's really not talking in any meaningful way at all. 

He's a year and a half, by the way. I'm not even sure how many words he's "supposed" to have by now anyway. Some sources that I read say at least 12, but then other sources say it's more like at least 20. 


lady_katie
by Silver Member on Jan. 8, 2013 at 7:31 PM

Thanks for responding. He's never said "mama" or "dada" with purpose. He doesn't seem to know what they mean. It's hard to say with "bubble" and "hi". I think that he originally said the word bubble with purpose, but then forgot what the purpose is. He says "hi" when opening and closing doors, so I'd say that's the most purposeful one. He's got the idea that it's related to coming and going. That's something. His receptive language is very delayed as well. I'm not sure if that's related or not. 

Thanks again. 

Quoting BrownMommy:

I would not consider your son verbal.  He is saying mama dada and bubbles and hi, but are they always with purpose?  Your son sounds a lot like my DD although DD is almost 4....she says bubble, and balloon and bye-bye and dada- but the catch is that she rarely says them, we just know she can and it all still sounds like baby talk "bu-bu' for bubbles etc...then again your son is 1 1/2 so there is probably a totally different range of expectation. He has plenty of time to catch up and talk your head off :-)

Quoting lady_katie:

I'm confused about this too. Maybe someone can give me their opinion on whether or not my son is verbal or non-verbal. I tell people that he's non-verbal because all he says is "hi" and "bubble" (he can barely say these, but my husband and I know what he means). He babbles "mama" and "dada" but does not appear to realize that these are actual words. He barely communicates in any way, and certainly not verbally. He'll sign for "more" or "all done" sometimes (once every few days at best) and he's just starting to use a very basic picture board. The picture board is prooving to be successful, but again, that's not verbal communication. I feel like he's technically verbal, but it doesn't make sense to describe him as being verbal because he's really not talking in any meaningful way at all. 

He's a year and a half, by the way. I'm not even sure how many words he's "supposed" to have by now anyway. Some sources that I read say at least 12, but then other sources say it's more like at least 20. 



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