The Autistic Child and The Song

Another enlightening and uplifting blog.

From the Inside

for blog - ian singingMore than once, I have seen a programme on television about an autistic child and the parents have said quite categorically “He’s non-verbal”, and I have heard that child in the background, singing.

Not just a tuneless wailing. Singing a song I know – and singing it recognizably, words and all.

When I hear this, I am the person hopping up and down on the sofa, pointing wildly at the television. “There’s your ‘in’,” I’m shouting. “The child is showing you a way to communicate!”

Okay, I’ll try to be calm about this and break it down.

What if an autistic child hears language as a long string of sound, instead of separate words?  Not just in a song, but generally?

How intimidating must it be for a child if he can’t hear where one word ends, and the next begins? And how can he possibly hope to learn them…

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About Neil van Dokkum

Neil van Dokkum (B. SocSc; LLB; LLM; PGC Con.Lit) Neil is a law lecturer and has been so since arriving in Ireland from South Africa in 2002. Prior to that Neil worked in a leading firm of solicitors from 1987-1992, before being admitted as an Advocate of the Supreme Court of South Africa (a barrister) in 1992. He published three books in South Africa on employment law and unfair dismissal, as well as being published in numerous national and international peer-reviewed journals. Neil currently specialises in employment law, medical negligence law, family law and child protection law. He dabbles in EU law (procurement and energy). Neil retired from full-time practice in 2002 to take up a lecturing post. He has published three books since then, “Nursing Law for Irish Students (2005); “Evidence” (2007); and “Nursing Law for Students in Ireland” (2011). His current interest is the area of disability as a politico-economic construct. Neil is very happily married to Fiona, and they have two sons, Rory and Ian.
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