This is a follow up on a comment on my last post regarding Olivia and her status as a non-verbal child.
I showed Olivia the sheet of paper I made with her name and the phone numbers for her dad and her Gram. She read the paper and grinned at me.
I assured her that I would do everything I could, you know, like driving safely and being aware of our surroundings but if something happened and I couldn’t talk to anyone, she should hand that paper to a police officer or a firefighter.
She shrugged at me, and made some weird sounds because she’s Olivia and that’s what she does when she’s uncomfortable. But I knew she got it because of her shrug and weird sounds.
Olivia acknowledges that she doesn’t/can’t speak to strangers or really anyone who isn’t immediate family. I think she wants to do so though. I think she wants desperately to talk to her friends and teachers. She wants to be ‘normal’.
But right now, she can’t and so we’re doing what we can to help her until she can. Because you know what? I truly believe that we will get to a place where Olivia can and will talk to others. It may not be this year or even next but we will get there.
I have an aunt who is lovely. But she’s also a bit clueless when it comes to special needs. She asked my mom recently, “Why don’t you just make her talk to people?”
My mom and I laughed over this. I mean, sure, that sounds awesome. We’ll just make her do it.
Except it’s not that she won’t. She simply can’t right now. She tries. She whispers at school. She’ll talk above a whisper to all of two teachers/therapists/aides. These are women she’s worked with for over four years and it’s taken this long for her to be comfortable enough with them to make conversation.
At home, she’ll talk to one of her classmates when she’s there to spend the day. It takes a bit of time but if I leave them alone, she’ll eventually get over whatever it is that takes away her voice.
We are doing all we can to help her find her voice. We’re trying to so hard to make her comfortable and assure her that her voice is important and that we all want to hear it.
I don’t think making the paper for her to hand to emergency personnel scared her at all. I think she was pretty confident in my ability to avoid an accident and in my health. But having it back there made me feel better and I think Olivia is pretty aware of my moods. Since I felt better having it there, she felt better.
I love Julie’s idea of a bracelet with all that information for her. First of all, Olivia loves all things jewelry. And since it would be considered a medical bracelet, I’m hopeful that first responders would be quick to notice it. I’ll be looking into that before our next trip alone.