I know that being around my child can be scary. I also know that some friends have avoided seeing us because of William. I know he can be scary because I, his own mother used to be scared of him. It was terrifying never knowing what he wanted or needed, or if he was hurting somewhere. It's terrifying and heart breaking.
So I want to address what you can do to not make the parent of a non-verbal child seriously dislike you.
1. Show Up I know the first steps are always the hardest. But when you say you are going to be there for their birthday party you better damn well show up, because guess what, I've been working with him on new signs for you and I've been talking about how all these people are coming to celebrate him. And when you don't show up I'm the one that has to look at the disappointment on his face. And then I'm the one that gets to clean up Silly String because I had to pull out the big guns to show him its really better that you didn't show up.
2. Talk To Him Just because he can't talk back doesn't mean he doesn't understand what you say to him. He wants you to acknowledge him and talk to him. And trust me. He can communicate in other ways and he is quite the charmer. I promise if you give him a chance you are never going to want to leave.
3. Learn a Few Signs You don't have to be fluent in ASL but if you pick up a few signs he will think you are the coolest person in the universe because you are now in his inner circle. A great web site to learn a few is www.ASLPro.com
4. Play With Him This should go with out saying. Every child loves to play. Bonus points if you play Godzilla, Lions, or Doctor Who. He has a wonderful growl/roar and loves to use it. I'm not sure how Doctor Who figures into that but he loves to pretend things are a sonic screwdriver.
5. DO NOT PRETEND HE ISN'T THERE His hearing is just fine and he knows when you are talking about him. He doesn't like it and it hurts him. You will probably also get his 'burn in hell' face. Now that is terrifying.
Now not every child is the same but these are pretty basic. I can also put your mind at ease that if you don't know a single sign I can interpret I'm not going to just throw you in the deep end.