Not Speaking is NOT Silent

by John Greally

[ Image: A variety of early period light bulbs. While many may have sought a better brighter candle, finer wax, maybe a fatter taller wick… someone different had to go about bucking all of that, pursuing a glass flask, electricity, tungsten filament solution. They weren’t crazy. They were focused. Their lights were fully on. ]


There are those still who say “It is language that makes humans human”.
Hmmm. Those who say that… are speaking inhumanly.
It is quite possible to seem silent and to be- unlike them -fully human, to love, to live well enough, engage with the world in one’s own different and perhaps beneficial way.

The lights are all on.

Language and thought are distinct from each other. For many of us, our thoughts are verbally encoded. Language represents thoughts, but is not thought itself.It is representational. A code. A placeholder for our thoughts in some cases. Secondary.

For some autistics, thoughts are never, or very nearly ever, verbally encoded. Words representing their thoughts just don’t necessarily occur. But there are many ways to think, as any synesthesiac, savant, artist, creator, inventor, visualizer, person in their own world, might relate — presuming they had the means to.

In this not-speaking “isolation”, it is vital to remember who is really limited, who is the isolator, if they cannot or will not grasp this essential truth of not-speaking autism.

Every single case of such a not-speaking, or communicating in another way, from Einstein to Sequenzia, shouts “the lights are all on, in fact surprisingly fully ON”.

Presume competence.

Please find a way to read or view ‘The Reason I Jump’.
~ ʎllɐǝɹƃ uɥoɾ

Amy Sequenzia – not-speaking:
Paula Durbin-Westby – sometimes not-speaking
Mike Weinstein – currently speaking:

First published in Autism Inclusivity.

Republished from this link with full permission of the author.

3 thoughts on “Not Speaking is NOT Silent

  1. This is such an excellent and insightful article, including the links. I especially identify with the ‘Sometimes Not Speaking’ linked article.


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