‘Our communication device broke today. His voice was whipped away in an instant.’: Mom to son with autism shares reminder ‘we all take speech for granted every day’

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“Today turned into a pretty stressful day.

What do you do when your child’s communication device breaks, and suddenly their only means of communication disappears?

Riley’s speech has come on so so much in the last 12 months, but he still depends on his device a whole lot.

A mom and her nonverbal son
Courtesy of Nicole Duggan

Not so much at home or with family because we have learned to understand his speech better, but with other people, his device is right there as a backup in case they cannot understand him.

He uses it independently. He types what he wants to say, and by pressing speak, it gives him a helping hand when sometimes his words are hard to understand.

The panic that set in today when his device broke was so upsetting to see.

For an 8-year-old to get so anxious that his device had broken shows just how much he depends on it.

He called his device his ‘buddy,’ because it was always there to help him, and he was so sad it broke.

I had to get him early from school because he was so upset, and you could see the anxiety rising in him.

I can’t even imagine how it feels to have that sense of security whipped away from you in an instant.

To have your voice, and your backup, whipped away.

The panic that set in with him was awful to see.

As much as Riley wants to speak more and more, today showed just how much he depends on that backup. How having it reduces his anxiety.

And how he feels he can be heard no matter what when he has his communication device.

After a stressful few hours, the amazing help of Emily in Evolve Therapy (who saved the day), a quick dash to Currys Ireland for a new iPad (where two amazing staff members went above and beyond when so many were out of stock to make sure we got one that would work with his software), and a late call from Mark in Liberator Ltd, Riley is up and running with a brand new communication device, which he has called his ‘mate’!

He is exhausted, overwhelmed, and still a bit upset, but he knows that when he goes to school tomorrow he can be understood.

We all take speech for granted every day.

We take our voices for granted.

We take for granted the fact that people can understand us when we speak.

But every person deserves a voice, a means of communication, and the security that they can be understood.

Everyone deserves to be heard.

An amazing group of people came together today to make sure this guy has his voice, his confidence, and his security back, and I am so grateful!”

A mom and her son with autism holiding his communication device
Courtesy of Nicole Duggan

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Nicole Duggan of Cork, Ireland. Follow her on Facebook here and Instagram here. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

Read more stories from Nicole:

‘Will I have friends soon, mom?’ Since December, my son has been isolated because he is Autistic.’: Mom speaks out about education for Autistic son, ‘He doesn’t deserve less’

‘If something happens, how will he tell me?’ He shouldn’t be ignored. It feels like I’ve failed him.’: Mom of nonverbal, autistic son says ‘it is our job to listen’

‘I really empathize with you for having a child with special needs.’ A line so innocent, but it cuts like a knife.’: Mom of son with autism urges ‘please do not pity us’

‘Riley is now 6 years old. He still does not speak. I always thought words were what mattered.’: Mom to son with autism says ‘I was lucky to be in his world, I just didn’t know it yet’

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