skip to Main Content
Why Autistic People Go Non-Verbal

Understanding Why Autistic People Go Non-Verbal

If you have interacted with an autistic person, you may have noticed that some individuals struggle with verbal communication. This may leave you wondering, why do autistic people go non-verbal? Well, there are various causes of non-verbal autism that are unique to each individual.

Non-verbal communication in autism can be challenging for individuals who struggle with social communication and interaction. Some of the common causes of non-verbal autism may include cognitive and language delays, sensory processing difficulties, and co-occurring conditions. For instance, a child with autism may have difficulty with speech development due to sensory processing difficulties with the oral muscles and mouth.

Non-verbal autism can significantly affect communication, leading to difficulties in expressing one’s needs, thoughts, and feelings. Therefore, understanding the causes of non-verbal autism is crucial in finding effective communication strategies that can help individuals interact more effectively.

In this article, we will explore the complexities of non-verbal autism and provide practical strategies to help support individuals with non-verbal autism in their communication needs.

The Complexity of Non-Verbal Autism

If you are seeking to understand non-verbal autism better, it is crucial to grasp the complexity of this condition. Non-verbal autism is a diverse disorder, and its symptoms can vary significantly from one individual to the next.

Communication difficulties are the hallmark of non-verbal autism. Autistic individuals who are non-verbal may struggle to express themselves verbally, which can lead to frustration and isolation. However, non-verbal autism is more than just a speech issue.

Along with challenges in articulating their thoughts and feelings, non-verbal autistic individuals might also face difficulty in understanding social cues and engaging in social interactions. They may display repetitive behaviours, have specific routines that they must follow, and react strongly to changes in their environment. These symptoms can make it challenging for non-verbal autistic individuals to connect with others and engage in everyday activities.

It is essential to recognize that non-verbal autism is a complex and multifaceted disorder. Autistic individuals with this condition can face a range of challenges, and the severity of their symptoms can vary. By understanding the complexities of non-verbal autism, we can support and accommodate the unique needs of each individual.

Communication Strategies for Non-Verbal Autism

Helping non-verbal autistic individuals communicate effectively can be a challenging task. However, with the right communication strategies and techniques, you can create an inclusive environment and enhance their communication skills. Here are some practical communication strategies for non-verbal autism:

Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) Systems: AAC systems can help non-verbal individuals communicate effectively. These systems include communication devices, picture boards, and sign language. You can work with a speech therapist to determine which AAC system is best suited for the individual.

Visual supports: Visual supports can help non-verbal individuals understand and communicate better. You can use pictures, symbols, and written words to aid communication. For instance, you can use visual schedules or social stories to help individuals understand what is expected of them in different situations.

Use of gestures: Gestures can be an effective way to communicate with non-verbal individuals. For instance, you can use gestures like pointing or nodding to indicate yes or no. You can also use hand signals to communicate specific needs or requests.

Reduce background noise: Background noise can be distracting and overwhelming for non-verbal individuals. You can reduce background noise by turning off the TV or radio and closing doors and windows.

Patience and understanding: Non-verbal individuals may take longer to communicate their thoughts and needs. It’s essential to be patient and allow them enough time to express themselves. Also, seek to understand their communication style and preferences.

Using these communication strategies, you can help non-verbal autistic individuals communicate effectively and improve their overall quality of life.

Assistive Technology for Non-Verbal Autism

If you are a caregiver or family member of a non-verbal autistic individual, you may have heard about the potential benefits of assistive technology in enhancing communication. Assistive technology refers to devices or software designed to aid individuals with disabilities in performing a range of tasks, including communication.

Assistive technology can be particularly useful for non-verbal autistic individuals who experience challenges with verbal communication. There are various types of assistive technology available, ranging from simple devices such as communication boards to more advanced technologies such as speech-generating devices (SGDs).

Communication boards are tools that allow non-verbal autistic individuals to communicate through the use of symbols or pictures. These boards can be physical or digital, and often come with a range of symbols that can be selected to express needs, wants or thoughts.

SGDs are electronic devices that generate speech based on the input of text or symbols. SGDs can be customized to suit the needs and preferences of the user, and can be particularly useful for individuals who type faster than they can write or express themselves through other means.

Advantages of Assistive Technology for Non-Verbal Autism Disadvantages of Assistive Technology for Non-Verbal Autism
  • Enhances communication abilities
  • Reduces frustration and challenging behaviours
  • Fosters independence and self-confidence
  • Provides opportunities for social connection and interaction
  • Can be expensive
  • May require significant training and support to use effectively
  • May not be suitable for all individuals or situations
  • May not fully replace the need for other forms of communication

It is important to note that assistive technology should not be viewed as a substitute for other forms of communication or as a way to eliminate the need for interaction and socialization. Rather, assistive technology should be used in conjunction with other communication strategies to enhance the overall communication abilities of non-verbal autistic individuals.

If you are interested in exploring assistive technology options for a non-verbal autistic individual, it is recommended to consult with a healthcare professional or a specialist in assistive technology. They can provide guidance on the most suitable devices or technologies based on individual needs and preferences, as well as offer training and support for effective use.


Understanding and supporting non-verbal autistic individuals is integral to promoting inclusivity and enhancing overall well-being. Through this article, we have explored the various reasons behind why some autistic individuals may become non-verbal, and the challenges they face in communicating effectively.

It is important to recognize the complexity of non-verbal autism and the unique symptoms and characteristics associated with it. By doing so, we can better tailor communication strategies and assistive technology to meet the needs of non-verbal autistic individuals.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do some autistic people become non-verbal?

The reasons behind why some autistic individuals may become non-verbal can vary. It can be due to a combination of factors such as sensory processing difficulties, communication challenges, and delays in language development.

What are the causes of non-verbal autism?

Non-verbal autism can have various causes, including differences in brain structure and function, genetic factors, and medical conditions. Additionally, sensory processing issues and difficulties in expressive language development can contribute to non-verbal communication.

What are the challenges faced by non-verbal autistic individuals in communicating?

Non-verbal autistic individuals may face challenges in expressing their wants and needs, understanding and interpreting verbal and non-verbal cues, and initiating and maintaining social interactions. These difficulties can impact their overall communication and social interactions.

How can we support non-verbal autistic individuals in their communication?

There are various communication strategies that can be employed to support non-verbal autistic individuals. These include using visual supports, implementing alternative and augmentative communication systems, creating a structured and predictable environment, and providing opportunities for non-verbal expression through gestures, sign language, or assistive technology.

What is the role of assistive technology in non-verbal autism?

Assistive technology plays a crucial role in aiding non-verbal autistic individuals in their communication. It can include devices such as communication apps, speech-generating devices, and picture-based communication systems. These technologies can enhance communication skills, promote independence, and provide alternative means of expression.

What is the significance of understanding and supporting non-verbal autistic individuals?

Understanding and supporting non-verbal autistic individuals is essential for promoting inclusivity and enhancing their overall well-being. By recognizing and addressing their unique communication needs, we can create a more inclusive society that values and respects the diverse ways in which individuals communicate.

This Post Has 0 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back To Top