I am his voice I am his voice. I have always been his voice. Until the day he can tell me what he wants, then I will be the voice he needs. When you have a baby it’s all new. As a new parent you are made to feel like you know nothing, but after Z ended up in hospital, I know that thing they call mother’s intuition is there and it’s valid. You take advice off professionals; your child needs the flu jab. Hummmm ok. He’s then really sick after it. The following year your child needs the flu jab. No, no he doesn’t. Until he can tell me he wants the flu jab then he doesn’t get it. When he was starting school, mainstream was mentioned. No, he needs a small special educational needs (SEN) school with teachers that get him. He doesn’t need a busy school where he will get lost in the system. He needs to be out of nappies before school. No, he will come out of nappies when he’s ready. He needs to be encouraged to eat more foods. Yes, I’d love him to eat more foods, I give him foods, I never force him. We play a game and sometimes that food may touch his lips, he’ll laugh or he’ll walk away. I’m not forcing him to do things he doesn’t want to do. If he doesn’t want to finish his food that’s fine, he’s obviously not hungry. I don’t tell him how to play, if organising dinosaurs across the landing makes him happy then I’m happy and those will stay there until he moves them, why distress him by moving them? If he wants to spin laying down then he can spin laying down, who says you have to stand to spin? Of course, I have to make him stop and wait at a road, that’s safety, he can’t just run across a road. But things like shopping, if he feels the need to munch on some crisps going around to stop some sounds then carry on. The empty packets can be scanned, I’m still teaching him to pay for what he has. No this isn’t spoilt. When his behaviour changes you know this isn’t him being naughty, he’s trying to tell me something. I’m not saying I am the best parent ever, I shout at him, I lose my temper with him, but I’ll always listen to him. When he’s smashing eggs, I know it’s a sensory thing. Yes, I tell him no, those eggs are for my dinner! Then we get slime or play dough out instead to get the sensory feedback he’s looking for. I try my best. I read up on what people are telling me, I ask adults with a diagnosis and I take that on board, if they say no to something there’s a reason they are saying no and I respect that. As parents fighting for our children, shouldn’t we be asking the advice of the adults that have already been the guinea pigs? The adults that have been put through ‘therapy’, the adults that are saying no? Why are professionals not taking these adults advice? Work with them for the future of my child. I am his voice, I will always be his voice, and if that means asking more and more questions, I will. I will always do research. I will always want to learn more. Mother’s intuition is real, so take more notice of the parents who are saying no, they know that non-verbal child inside out. Honestly how many parents of verbal children can pick up an ear infection or tonsillitis by some small change in behaviour? Just because Z doesn’t use spoken language to me that doesn’t mean he’s not communicating with me. Just because he may not look at me doesn’t mean he’s not paying any attention, truthfully, I’m not looking at you when you are talking to me, but I’m paying attention, I’m remembering that conversation. Non-verbal does not mean because he doesn’t have a voice he is not listened to, I do listen to him, or I try to. I’m not forcing him to speak if he can’t, there’s a reason why he’s not because he can if he wants to. He can read, he can spell, he can type out what he wants, he can take me by the hand and lead me to what he wants, he can put on his shoes then I know that means it’s time to go. So just because he doesn’t use spoken language that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have any less rights than the child the same age who can speak, his voice will be heard through me. Read more from Jo at First Time Valley Mam, and read more from our Family Fund Bloggers here.