While a third of autistic individuals are non-verbal, there’s no official diagnosis for “non-verbal autism” and as with autism, there’s a spectrum of what non-verbal means. There are those who may master a few verbal words and apply them to wider meanings, while there are others who may never gain meaningful verbal speech. Regardless, being non-verbal does not inhibit the ability communicate deep thoughts through other media, such as typing.
Busting myths of non-verbal autism
Unfortunately, because traditional intelligence tests rely on speech, many non-verbal autistic individuals are considered as lacking intelligence. This has been shown to be untrue as intelligence tests for non-verbal individuals are being developed and deployed. Other common untrue myths of non-verbal autism include:
- Being non-verbal means they can’t function in social situations – just because an individual can’t talk does not mean that they don’t have a vivid internal world and a desire to share it with the world. It may mean that the people around them need to learn their conversational cues along with putting in place supports to help them interact. The truth is most non-verbal autistic people can interact with others and want to make friends.
- Non-verbal individuals need an interpreter – while many non-verbal autistic individuals may need help navigating the social world around them at times, it’s not true that they will constantly need someone to interpret their speech. There are many modalities for communication from typing with a keyboard to pointing to word boards that assist non-verbal autistic individuals independently interact and navigate the world around them.
- Being non-verbal means they’ll never work – a final myth about non-verbal autistic individuals is that they will be financially dependent for their entire lives. Now, it’s likely that they will need some support as they learn how to blend their autism with the neurotypical demands of the workplace, but there are many examples of non-verbal autistic people becoming great employees at a wide variety of workplaces. Employment helps to build confidence and independence and allows non-verbal autistic individuals take their rightful place in today’s society.
To assist a non-verbal autistic person get a job in a business professional role, such as IT, put them in contact with Orbital Learning. We specialize in finding the right employment for people seeking careers. We work alongside both the individual and the hiring company to make the most of the individual’s strengths. These individuals are our equals, with rich internal lives, dreams and desires. Like everyone else, they deserve to be accepted into the workforce and the wider world.