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Communication Shutdown

I’m one of those parents; I admit it. I talk about my kids way too much. So you’re probably very aware, but I’ll share it anyway. My oldest son is a handsome, charming, intelligent young man. He also doesn’t speak. Xander is severely autistic and for the most part, he doesn’t communicate. Not only does he not talk, but he doesn’t sign, write or communicate in any other way.

Sometimes, he gets angry. Or he cries. And we go crazy trying to figure out why he’s upset. But usually, I wonder why he’s not upset more often. You know that feeling when there’s a word on the tip of your tongue and you can’t think of it? Or when you’re trying to tell someone something and they don’t understand what you’re saying? Or when you’re trying to have an in-depth conversation with someone who speaks a different language?

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been in every one of those situations. And I always get frustrated. Autism is a communication disorder and even those who have milder forms of the disability have trouble communicating.

A global fundraiser aims to raise money for autism and to try and show the rest of us what it’s like to have trouble communicating. At Communication Shutdown, those who donate to autism programs through the site will have their Facebook and Twitter feeds shut down for a day.

From the site:

Social communication is one of the biggest challenges for people with autism. By choosing to shutdown your social networks for one day, you will have some idea of what it’s like for people with autism who face this challenge every day.

Rachael Harris, a counsellor and supporter, who herself is on the autism spectrum, put it best when she said, “Electing to shutdown social communication mirrors autistic silence. But it also draws attention to the isolation and intense loneliness experienced by those who are impeded from connecting socially with others. The CHAPP is a powerful way to create a sense of empathy towards those on the autism spectrum.”


  • I wonder

    I agree it must be very tough for autistic children and adults who can’t communicate. My 3 year old is autistic and is still pretty non-verbal and will not sign. However I feel like for a lot of autistic people social networking is an incredibly powerful tool for them to be able to communicate without having to process so much outside information… not sure about this one but thanks for sharing, this community needs a lot more info. on autism!

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