Communicating with Michael
Hope everyone's been doing great! For today's blog post, I wanted to talk about Michael's progress with his communication skills.
As some of you may know, Michael is non-verbal and can't communicate with words like we do. He has an incredible sense of understanding, and even though he doesn’t form words, he's vocal in the sense of humming or grunting. Regardless, he’s most fluent in the most important language- the language of love.
Since Michael communicates with us without words, it’s essential that he communicates with us through reading our expressions and with a sense of feeling. He is incredibly sensitive (as are my mom and I). For anyone who knows an individual who has Down Syndrome, they’ll know that these individuals have an incredible sense of stubbornness- Michael included.
Ask or tell him to do something in the wrong tone-- and forget it. He will sit, pout, and do absolutely nothing. If you’re in a rush, let’s say for school, or for a doctor’s appointment, then too bad. If you even dare rush Michael when he wants to move slowly, he’ll move even slower.
This is exactly why we talk to him in a soft manner. He’s incredibly sensitive. He picks up emotions and energies-- how else would be communicate with us without words? We are in no way babying him, as he is capable of doing so many things on his own. But once more, we need to approach him in an appropriate manner that fits his needs.
If he’s sick or not feeling well, we can tell since he’ll seem a little off. He won’t smile, he’ll move really slowly, and in general look upset. If he wants something from us, he’ll usually come up to us on his own, but this doesn’t happen too much. Michael LOVES keeping to his routine, and getting out of routine is incredibly upsetting for him.
As for alternative methods of communicating with us, Michael did have an iPad during high school, with various communication apps. From what I remember Michael was not a fan— if I’m being honest, it really felt like he would just touch anything on the screen so that the iPad would be out of his face.
When I was living outside of home during college, Michael initially disliked talking on the phone, or skyping with me. However, over the past few years he’s really gotten the hang of it.
Video chatting has worked so well with us over the past few years. He loves “chatting” with my aunt from Poland that he’s never met. Especially since she loves talking, Michael is so entranced and enamored by her.
While I was travelling in Europe this past summer, this was an incredible method for us to keep in touch. Although he initially wouldn’t look at me for the first 10 minutes of our calls, when he’d eventually get over being butt hurt he’d be so ecstatic to have a way to communicate. It’s enthralling to hear his giggles and spot his smiles while chatting from so far away.
If you have any questions regarding Michael's communication, feel free to comment below or send in a contact form :)