Let’s do away with the term “Non-verbal”

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The second annual Profectum conference was again a huge hit with parents and professionals alike.  A touching moment happened when a parent came up after my talk and asked me to repeat something I had said about the inaccuracy of the phrase “non-verbal”.  As Liz Torres, neuropsychological researcher, told us, what we can see (or hear, as talking involves oral motor movement) is only a small part of the autism picture.  This is verified over and over again in “real life” by authors writing about their autism. The main message is: don’t equate non- verbal with non- smart!!  (or worse) Let’s use a new adjective to describe individuals without spoken communication:  Non-spoken language.  Let’s call it what it is, and stop using the adjective “non-verbal” which is full of misleading connotations.

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