I have a 4-year-old with autism. He is mostly nonverbal, and he hums almost all the time. I don’t really notice it anymore, but when we are out, other people notice him humming. They sometimes try to talk to him and, obviously, he doesn’t respond verbally. They look like it hurts their feelings when he doesn’t. I’ve tried several responses, including saying, “He has autism, and although he doesn’t speak, he can understand what people are saying.” The problem is no matter what I say it just seems like people are either unhappy or uncomfortable with whatever response I give. I need suggestions on what to tell people when he doesn’t respond to them.
—Hears You Just Fine