Dawn-Marie Potter

After having her first son in 2004 she went back to college in 2006 to become a Massage Therapist. Massaging part-time while being a full-time home schooling mom to her 3 children, she also advocates for embracing Autism (both her son's are diagnosed). Her passionate dedication to positive parenting is why she also does life coaching privately and speaks to groups/conferences about positive parenting of special needs children.

If you l100 3648 e1366954153325 Is Verbal Communication Really The Ideal? ook back on your day today prior to reading this, in what form did your most recent communication occur? Was it a verbal communication or did you use one of many non-verbal ways to communicate like email or texting?

My niece will be 4 years old next month, she’s a feisty brunette filled with mischievous smiles, and loves Scooby Doo, and for the most part she is non-verbal. When she signs “I love you” to her mother, the joy her mother feels is beyond mere mortal words.Does she still dream of hearing her daughter actually say the words verbally to her?

I don’t know, I’ve never asked her. Instead I have simply rejoiced with her that her daughter communicated her love for her mother in a way that worked for her, in a way that gave her the ability to express her feelings. She utilizes a mixture of sign language, some words, her iPad apps, and body language to communicate. Eventually she’ll know how to type and be able to write as well as an additional form of communication.

My son will be 3 years old in a couple of months.  He tries to speak each day, but his articulation is almost nil for the majority of his words. The words that are fairly recognizable have multiple meanings that need to be taken into consideration, and sifted through based on the current situation, his surroundings, and even what has occurred prior to his attempt at being verbal. If what he’s trying to communicate is not understood almost immediately he gets extremely frustrated and has a meltdown. I don’t blame him either. To know what you want but to not be able to get that message across to others, that’s its own unique frustration.

After seeing how wonderful my niece’s iPad worked for her these last couple of months, we went and got him a tablet yesterday complete with apps specifically designed to speak for him when he taps on pictures. For example it has a picture of a child sitting at a table with food in front of him that says “I want to eat” when it’s tapped. I think this is absolutely wonderful! Why? Because I don’t feel that verbal communication is truly the ideal form of communication

I think for too long we as a society have decided that talking was the only “real” way to communicate. In part this is due to the fact that for thousands of years the majority of the population was illiterate. Couple that aspect with the fact that we have not possessed the technology we now do for very long; it’s no wonder that society doesn’t see it as equal to verbal communication. I think it’s going to take time for society’s opinion of “ideal” or “real” communication to change.

But think of this, if I send an email to my boss telling them that they are so stupid that I have no idea how on earth that they even got hired in any position let alone as my superior when it’s clear to everyone that they are my inferior. I can guarantee that at that point my email will be deemed as a “real” communication from me to them. If I try to argue that I didn’t say it verbally and therefore it shouldn’t really count, they are going to laugh all the way through the entire paperwork they fill out to have me properly disciplined according to my work’s current written policies.

We live in a world of texting, instant messaging, Facebook chatting, emailing, twitter, and the list goes on and on. We rely on all of these tools to effectively communicate with others, but as soon as someone needs to utilize these types of tools because they cannot communicate verbally, suddenly it’s sad or we should strive to fix that.

Now don’t get me wrong, two of my youngest son’s understandable words are “hi” and “momma” and there are times when he’ll just look at me and say “hi momma” and it’ll melt my heart. Not just because he’s trying to communicate with me, but also because of the tone, I can feel the love pouring out of him. With his tactile issues, hugs and kisses don’t happen often, and when I try to offer these types of acts it can and often does lead to me getting punched in the face or screamed at. So yes, I melt twice as much when I hear the love in those two simple words only because he does not use physical acts to show love.

However, I also sign “I Love You” to him several times a day. The first day he signs that back I know I’m going to screech loud enough to shatter glass in my over-excitement. My eldest son is now verbal but the first time he wrote those 3 words to me on a piece of paper, he quickly covered his ears because of my reaction as well. For me, it doesn’t matter if they write it on paper, sand, a tablet, the sidewalk, sign it, or say it. They are still communicating their love for me, to me. That’s huge, no matter the form it comes in.

The cards we get on special occasions, they are non-verbal forms of communication. Should we let Hallmark know that because written isn’t as desirable as verbal communication that we won’t be purchasing any cards ever again? When we smile at someone and they scowl at us, then quickly turn their backs to us, is that not a clear form of communication?  Legal contracts are written and signed because a verbal contract doesn’t hold up in court.

Is it beautiful to hear “I love you” yes, indeed it is, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only way, nor does it mean it’s the most desirable way either. I can go back and hold that piece of paper, no longer crisp from all the times I held it, and still my heart expands, my throat constricts, and my eyes over flow at all the love I feel seeing his uneven letters misspelling out “I love you”. When we’re in a crowd, he’ll look over at me when he’s getting overwhelmed and I’ll sign to him, just a quick flash of fingers and fist moving through the air transforming slight hand movements into reassurances that he’s safe, and loved, and that I’m proud of him.

To us, verbal isn’t ideal, it’s just one of many forms. As long as I can communicate my love to them, and be able to understand what they wish to share with me I’m happy, regardless of the form it comes in.

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What do you think?

2 Responses to “Is Verbal Communication Really The Ideal?”

  1. Jo Says:

    Wow I came to this from another site.. It has just blown me away. For my son it is not verbal communication he has difficulty with but writing. He is 7 . He had global developmental delay as a infant/toddler and thanks to lots of hard work is doing great.
    We recently bought him a tablet and are encouraging typing more than writing. It has been amazing for him. So many great educational apps including “games” that help teach keyboarding. We are home schooling because school personnel just couldn’t get that writing and sitting and are harder for him.
    We have the technology it is time is as seen as a wonderfully effective tool to help so many.
    Thank you for sharing this.

  2. Dawn-Marie Potter Says:

    You are so very welcome, thank you for taking the time to read and comment on the article. unfortunately the doctors are not much different here at least not many of them which is why I fight so hard to help other people understand the different is just different it’s not better, its not worse not less or more. I want them to look at my children as the whole individual that they are which is amazing! It’s time to stop societies belief that we should mourn their differences instead of embracing the rich tapestry they bring to ours and to other people’s lives through their differences.

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