A few years ago, I got thinking about how Chloe is unable to move or communicate like she’d like to and all the frustration and behavioral issues that go along with that. I got thinking it might be nice for her to know why she’s unable to do those things. I realized that when other severe challenges come up in life, i.e. abuse, death, etc, the recommendation is for a person to go to counseling and talk about it. Shouldn’t that same principle apply with Chloe?
So I sat her down and told her “the story.” I had told her pieces of the story before then and I always explained what was going on in the moment, but I had never sat down and explained everything. This time, she got the full scoop. I told her how sorry I was that this happened to her, but how grateful I am that she is so strong and brave through it all, that I am grateful to be her mom, and that she is an inspiration to me and many others.
It was a very tender time. I didn’t just tell the story, I told parts, then asked her to talk to me about it. Even though she is “non-verbal,” she is very expressive and communicates in her own special way. And talk she did, in her own little Chloe babble language. Although I don’t know exactly what she said, I’m sure she was just getting out some feelings, and I’m sure that felt good for her. After all, we all need to vent now and then, right?
Even with non-verbal children, I think it’s important to keep those lines of communication open… talk to them, express your feelings to them, allow them to do the same.
Since that time, I still share her story now and then. I show her lots of pictures and let her look in the mirror…while she’s laying on the floor, while she’s in her stander, while she’s in her wheelchair. I like her to see what she looks like and absorb all the parts of who she is and talk to her about all those things so she feels comfortable and loved and accepted fully in all those special ways.
Doing this would, of course, depend on your child’s cognitive abilities, but this works for us and my mother’s intuition tells me to do it so I do. I’m no expert, but this seems to help Chloe. Is this something you’ve tried or think you might try? What other ways do you try to make sure your child feels comfortable and loved for who they are?
Photo credit: jenniferhayslip.com