How to explain to your friends and family your son is nonverbal

Whenever I go somewhere new, and they say hi to my son, I have to explain “he is non-verbal.” We will either try to say hi vocally or with his device. He is getting better with words, that is for sure. However, it still can be challenging because after that they might want to have more conversations or ask questions. 

They don’t know what to expect. What does nonverbal mean? How does he communicate? You mean he doesn’t talk at all? I get these questions all the time. It has given me anxiety over the years, but in reality now it doesn’t bother me as much. I am thankful and grateful for this little boy and accepted him for who he is. 

However, whenever we see someone new or haven’t seen anyone in a long time, I like to make sure they understand what this means. 

  1. Set boundaries: You want to make sure to let them know what to do if he gets frustrated but also how to talk calm. There are certain things that a child might like or not like. There are certain ‘triggers’ that can cause a child to be overwhelmed. If there are any triggers make sure to share it. 
  2. Make sure to tell them how he communicates: Whether it is sign language, a device, or verbally (just not well) you will want to tell them. If it is a combination of a few of these make sure to make it clear as well. Also, what words he knows, make a list for verbally and on the device. Be open and share the most common phrases and words used. 
  3. Eye Contact: This is one of the first things that I learned about having an auistic child. Eye contact is important, it really helps ausitic children to relate easier. It helps to also listen carefully and communicate better. Get down on their level so they can understand you better. 

It is important to let others around you such as friends and family know this, and how to handle it so that everyone can have fun and communicate. Nothing is more frustrating as a parent and a non-verbal son than someone trying to figure it out or not understand. Also, one more key piece of advice, be patient. Sometimes children can get frustrated and overwhelmed.

Susie Liberatore is the owner, and Art Director, of Visions2images Creative Services. She helps established businesses grow their brand awareness by using digital marketing and professional branding techniques. With over a decade of agency and corporate experience, she brings businesses’ visions to life, while watching their return on investment increase.

Susie helps businesses grow their brand presence and connect with their target audience.

The Ultimate Branding Guide to Win New Clients in 7 Days

Autism Struggles From a Mother’s Perspective

I used to see how people would look at my son and me when we were out and about. There once was a time that I cared what others thought about me.  I still remember when Antonio was young, and I knew he had autism. It was tough to do storytime at libraries; I had to leave so many times because I would break down and cry in my car. 

There was once a time when I had high anxiety because… 

  1. He wouldn’t listen: This can be so hard, I see people looking at me wondering why he isn’t listening. I felt like I looked like a bad parent but really, my child is just having a hard time listening and figuring out what I am saying. This might led to a tantrum, or behavior breakdown, I just have to pick my battles. “Normal” kids can go through this just as much as autistic and it can be stressful for any parent. 
  2. He would stim: Stimming is like someone constantly humming or making noises. It is uncontrolled and can be bothersome. It is how kids deal with being excited, happy, or even anxious. There is no way to have someone stop this, it is their way of dealing with feelings. However, people used to look at me, wondering why I couldn’t get him quiet or controlled. It hurt as a parent and caused so much anxiety.  I wish I could explain why he was doing this to every person, but instead, I would hurry up and leave whatever I was doing. 
  3. He couldn’t talk back: If I got frustrated, or he did, he couldn’t tell me what was wrong. It would more than likely lead to him stimming, which in turn made people look at us more. It is so hard sometimes to know and understand what is wrong with my little boy. 
  4. He had a hard time communicating: I ask each of you to be patient and not judge someone from the outside.  Parenting is hard as it is. If a child can not communicate, be kind and know auistic parents are doing the best they can do. 

The truth is that having an auistic son,  I realized what patience truly meant, and how to really deal with it. I wouldn’t have it any other way, I have learned to grow and be patient by this beautiful blessing.

Susie Liberatore is the owner, and Art Director, of Visions2images Creative Services. She helps established businesses grow their brand awareness by using digital marketing and professional branding techniques. With over a decade of agency and corporate experience, she brings businesses’ visions to life, while watching their return on investment increase.

Susie helps businesses grow their brand presence and connect with their target audience.

The Ultimate Branding Guide to Win New Clients in 7 Days

The Progress of a Five Year Autism Boy

I always say that I love the age Antonio is at all the time. Truth is every day he changes and I LOVE IT.  I love seeing him grow. Isn’t that what parenting is all about?  I am SO proud of this kid. 

Lately, he is SO independent. He literally doesn’t like to ask for help unless he HAS to. He loves getting dressed, undressed, putting his clothes away, and giving himself a bath. There are so many chores that he has to do each day and really likes it. In fact, he really LOVED setting up the Christmas decorations all by himself. I let him decorate anyway he wanted to because he really enjoyed it. I couldn’t pull him away from the Christmas tree; I am excited for Christmas this year with him.

He is a good listener. He literally is a rule follower and listens *most* of the time. I mean he is a toddler and sometimes I have to say things a few times, but he will listen and do what is asked. He is very curious about so many things. When he wanted to help with cooking I had to make sure that he knew the kitchen was not okay to be in without mommy. He picked up on it pretty quickly. 

He is so creative. Back to his Christmas tree.., it does not look professional but it looks adorable and he used his imagination. He put a Santa hat on top of the tree, he wanted it. I am very open to allowing my kid to use his imagination and think outside of the box. Even, when he plays with his Legos he has so much imagination and creates so many amazing things. 

All of these things might not seem like a huge deal, but as an autistic mama, IT IS. He is still incredibly behind with so many things and whenever I see progress improve, I get so excited. 

It makes my heart so happy to see him growing each day and having fun. I love seeing how much progress he has made every day. Hang in there mama’s this too shall pass.

After working in the agency and corporate world I saw so many businesses missing out on creative opportunities. There is nothing worse than going to from a website to social media only to think to yourself “is this still the same company?” Because their branding isn’t consistent! This is how businesses lose leads.

I help mid-size businesses bring in new leads because of their digital branding.

I turned my passion into a profitable business as a single mother to an autistic kid. I love filling in the gaps that are missing in businesses I crave this!

I am the Art Director of visions2images & invested over a decade mastering the digital design world and was an early insider to the Digital Marketing space learning the twists and turns of exactly how to bring that physical brand to the online space.    

Susie helps businesses grow their brand presence and connect with their target audience.

The Ultimate Branding Guide to Win New Clients in 7 Days 

The Best Five-Year-Old Birthday Gifts 

Can we just talk about how my little boy is going to be FIVE!?!! I can not believe that he is going to be five, I mean it flew by. For real. I love being his mom and seeing how he grows every day. 

Each year has brought so much joy and fun times. Each year has been so unique, but I am loving how things are so different now. He is so independent and really enjoys new things. He LOVES Mickey, but he also has other favorite shows now, which is so GREAT! 

He is so curious and interested in so many things, that it makes me so excited to see him developing his personality. We went through Amazon together and handpicked these items that he wants. I thought I would share it since I know how hard it can be shopping for a five-year-old! 


Ravensburger Mickey & Minnie: At The Skate Park 100 Piece Jigsaw Puzzle 



Ceaco Disney Friends Disney Diner Jigsaw Puzzle, 200 Pieces



toddler Musical Instruments Wooden Percussion Instruments Toy



Melissa & Doug Pattern Blocks and Boards


USA Toyz Moosh Fluffy Modeling Clay – Soft Foam Non Drying Clay 



MAGTiMES Magnetic Letters and Numbers for Educating Kids in Fun



LEGO DUPLO Disney Mickey’s Vacation House 10889 Toy House Building Set



Delta Children Chair Desk with Storage Bin, Disney Mickey Mouse




Mickey Mouse Disney’s Mickey’s Musical Express Train Set


Educational Insights GeoSafari Jr. My First Microscope, Extra-Large Dual Eyepieces, Preschool STEM Toy




Four-year-old autism wins 

The best thing about having an autistic kid is that they have such different goals and milestones than a normal child. It used to bother me when I saw kids his age doing things that he could not do, but now I see things so differently. I am so proud of this boy and how unique he is.

Over the past year, he has made so much progress. I can’t put together in words all of the things that he has done.  I can tell you that there has been so much growth just in the past four to six months. I am so happy whenever I see improvement. 

  1. I love that he makes new noises and tries so hard. He is the hardest working person ever, he gets that from me for sure. He has made new noises such as ‘up’ ‘uh oh’ ‘ah’ ‘oh’ ‘pppp’ and a few other ones. Every time we work on a new noise you can see how hard he tries and how happy he gets when I praise him. 
  2. I love that he shakes his head yes or no. It is the cutest thing ever. We have had to work with him to communicate non verbally for so long that simple things like this can make a difference. It is great to have him understand so that we can communicate quickly and efficiently ie; if he hurts himself, if he’s hungry, etc. 
  3. I love that he likes to clean up now. He literally will make messes just to clean them up, he is something else. I think it is super cute though because he knows how to clean up and does it so well. He gets so happy when he realizes what he has done. 
  4. I love how he notices when something is slightly off or different. If I move the trampoline from the inside to somewhere else he will see the little marks it left in the carpet and he will try to cover them up. If there is a crumb on the floor, he will pick it up and put it in the trash. If I have ANYTHING new on the table or countertops etc he will point to it immediately. His attention to detail is out of this world. 
  5. I love how he can play so well independently as well as with others. It has been so great to see both versions of this. I like that he is so independent but also when others around him can play with them as well. It is still a work in progress to help him understand the word share. 

These are such fun little things that he has done shortly in time. It amazes me to see how he can change in such a short amount of time. Autism has been such a blessing and a joy to see from a mother’s perspective. 



How Music Has Helped My Autistic Son. 

Every day is a challenge with an autistic son but there is so much good to it as well. I have enjoyed seeing so much change and growth in my son over the past few months. It is so interesting to just sit and watch how he observes and plays with things.  I often find myself just memorized. Sometimes I often do think about what life would be like if he was ‘normal.’ What would it be like.. But then I stop myself because I can’t think like that. 

He is who he is and nothing can change that! 

Lately, he has been all about dancing and humming. He hears it or sees it in a movie and wants to do it. It is so interesting, he will watch it and then imitate it all the time! He knows when a song or music is going to start and then hums to it.  I LOVE it. He is showing his true happiness and love for new things. 

But then there is a side of me that is slightly upset because he wants to sing along to the songs,  but can’t. It is the cutest thing ever to see him get so excited and hum right on cue. I often wonder what goes on in his head and what he is thinking that he wishes he could communicate with others. I feel like music is such a great way for him to communicate. 

Whenever I sing a song that he likes he immediately lits up and does the humming or dance that goes with it. I want to continue to grow and work with him on his music, it has been so amazing to see this new side of him. I am looking forward to seeing him continue this excitement and growth. 


The Journey of A Non-verbal Four Year Old.

Every time I hear my son make a new noise I cry a little bit 

I’m so proud of that kid and how determined he is. Ask anyone and they would agree that he is the hardest working determine kid ever. 

No doubt. I work hard to get him to communicate verbally. Even when he makes a new noise I get so excited. When he makes a new word I get excited. I keep enforcing all the good things he does by clapping and smiling after all it lights me up. Here’s the thing though.. I can’t even imagine how hard and frustrated he is because he can’t use his vocals as well as he has hoped. I can’t even imagine.  Sometimes I want to break down and cry because it is so hard for him, but he keeps smiling and laughing away. It is hard for me to see him struggle sometimes because I want to make it all better. His determination is what helps me every day. 

He tries sooooo hard to make the noises when asked to. It is so cute and fun to see how hard he tries. I begin to think why can’t be put the noises and words together? I begin to wonder if he thinks he is making the noises. I wonder what is going on inside of his head. Sometimes they sound right on but most of the time not so much. The one thing I do know is when music is on he tries to imitate the noises more than ever.  

I love the support he gets and how excited everyone gets. Just over the past 50 days he has made such critical progress including some random ya, na. So many people have cried when he makes such progress and I couldn’t be happier. People love listening and hearing his journey. This has been such an amazing journey to have him home with me and help him increase his noises. 

But he can make consistent noises when asked “up” and “oh” this is huge and has been such a blessing. I learned from his teachers how to shape the words and how to implement them with him. He has mastered these and is still working on new ones. With a non-verbal child you have to really open your mouth and show them the noises, tongue, and mouth. At first, Antonio thought it was so funny, but now it is a habit for him to make those faces when he makes those noises and it is the cutest thing ever. My closing thoughts to anyone struggling with a non-verbal child; hang in there and keep working at it all the time. Support your son, cheer him on, and love him; he will appreciate it and become even more determined and excited. 

The one thing I know is that with all the love and support he has he will be fine. One day he might talk one day he might not. It’s all in God’s hands, to be honest. But I’m here for him every single step of the journey. 

How to be successful as a Single Mom

The other day I was on the phone with a client and she said those words “I think I’m going to get divorced.”  My heart sank I remember that feeling all too well. I wanted to cry with her and empower her. I felt the chills as she was telling me her struggles. I honestly never thought I could be a single mom and 100% on my own, I never thought I could. 

So of course… Her biggest question to me was “how do I do this Susie financially and mentally.” 

My heart sank again, I wondered the same thing when I started my divorce process. I fought trying to save my marriage. I questioned myself DAILY this same thing before I was divorced. We all think about this whenever it might happen. 

I have no right answers it’s tough and hard period; there is no way easy way around there. However, I was able to grow my business during a divorce and be 100% independent and profitable in a few months. I call it hustling you can call it whatever you want. I knew I was going to be on my own and be a mother to my son. I knew my business could be successful so I had to make plans. 

When you become a single mom, you realize all the things that you have to take care of and do in order to be on your own. So here is my advice if you are going through a divorce, or thinking about it, and even starting a business as a single mom:

  1. Make a plan: You have to figure out a way to make it, you have to set realistic goals. These goals can be financially, mentally, professionally or all the above. Rely on yourself and know that you are one person but can achieve goals. 
  2. Look at a budget: You will have a new budget any way you look at it. You have to look at things to cut back on, how to shop smarter, and how much you will bring in. All of these factors are important. I ended up hiring an accountant and financial advisor because I wanted to be smart about this since this was a huge change for me. 
  3. Ask for help: This is huge because I always was stubborn but I ended up hiring a lawn guy, CPA, babysitter, and so many other people to help me. I ask for help whenever I might need it. For example, I have had my neighbor help me unclog my toilet a few times; there are times you will need to ask for help. DO IT and pick your battles. 
  4. Hustle for clients: Set goals for how much money you want to make then divide it by how you can make it and how many you need to achieve that week. You will be surprised at how much money you can make when it comes to hustling. 
  5. Hire a sales coach or business coach: My biggest advice for anyone starting a business is you need a tribe and also a coach of some sort. Having a business, or sales, a coach can help you have accountability. We need accountability as an entrepreneur because we can put things off to the back burner to procrastinate whenever possible. 
  6. Set deadlines:  You can set deadlines, but you must achieve them and have that accountability in order for them to work. I always tell myself every single day I will accomplish these three things after that anything else accomplished is considered a huge success. 
  7. Celebrate wins: There will be days where you feel like you have not accomplished anything, or feel down. It happens no matter what. You have to look at how far you have come, but also what you have accomplished. Whether that accomplishment is personal, financial, or professional, you need to celebrate it. 
  8. Celebrate failures: You will feel defeated and like a failure sometimes. This is normal with anyone but you have to learn from these failures or mistakes. I always look whenever I can for new ways to grow and overcome mistakes. 
  9. Outsource: In order to grow my business I needed to find ways to outsource. What did I outsource? The things that I can not do but know that my clients need such as SEO, website development, and copy editing. I also realized that I needed to have a VA/assistant. 
  10. Revisit your business: You need to be able to revisit your business as often as you can. Whenever I revisit I see so many more new opportunities. I launched some new programs and found ways to make additional revenue. 


My heart goes to you, I feel your pain. I feel it 100%, but you got this. You are strong. Here are the strong business owners. 

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Chores For a Four-year Autistic Child

Since being put on lockdown I have had my autistic son home with me 24-7. At first, I was quite upset about him being home simply because he was doing so well in his ABA program and it took so long to get to where we are today. I did not know how he would adapt to the change of being home with mom all day every day for an unknown amount of time. 

I also was worried he would regress. Regressing is when someone goes backward with everything that they have learned and obtained; he had mastered so many goals. I was worried that I couldn’t fulfill the duties that he was used to from his teachers. It was a lot of stress for me, but he adjusted well. 

I was proactive and put him into online programs where they helped me obtain his old demands and new goals. It is always a lot of work and time to change these things since there are so many loopholes. 

However, since being home and working with him there have been new victories for Antonio: 

  1. He will put his dishes away and throws any leftover food away in the trash. 
  2. I have him help bring in the groceries, unload them, and put them away with me.  
  3. Antonio feeds the dogs. He will take the container of dog food and put it in the bowls. Then he will put the container back into the closet and close the door.
  4. He puts his clothes in the hamper. 
  5. This one is my favorite, he goes to the bathroom 100% on his own. He will walk into the bathroom, then wash his hands and come back out all on his own. 
  6. Antonio can write his name. We are working on adding more vocabulary and writing to his goals. 
  7. He initiates all the things and I LOVE IT. We work on noises, sounds, and words as often as we can. He tries so hard! 
  8. He plays music and loves dancing. We work on being active as much as we can and he has grown so much with his skills. 

All of these things have been so fun and important for him to achieve. He always amazes me when he goes above and beyond. I love how hard he works and how he listens so well; I give simple commands and he implements so well. It can be hard to communicate sometimes with a non-verbal child, but we have a system in place. 

These are all huge praises for an autistic child.  Even though COVID-19 we are still able to maintain all these things, and more. I am thankful we have had this time together. 


Four Things No one Warns An Autistic Parent About 

Being an autistic mother has had some challenges, all of which I had to learn and problem solve.  It is after all whats parenting is all about. No one can tell you exactly what you are going to go through, or the right things. I would not ever change this challenge that I was given.  In fact, it has helped me to become a better person, mother, and business owner. I have gained so much more than I could ever imagine. I was determined to do what was best for my son. 

If you have an autistic child, I am here to share some of my personal thoughts, inspiration, and battles that I have gone through: 

    • You are going to cry. Embrace it and let it happen. It could be better, it could be worse. It doesn’t matter. You are a mother to a special needs child and it is TOUGH. You wish things were different.. Just let it out and know you are doing the best you can. You will cry for every little milestone, but also for all the goals missed. There will be a lot of comparison, but only compare your child to how far they have come and NO ONE ELSE. 
    • You are going to be super protective. No questions asked. There was a time when I didnt put him into programs because I didnt think he was ready or because people couldn’t handle him/us. You aren’t going to take any crap from anyone. You will be mama bear with a full wall built around the both of you. 


  • You are going to research and take risks. Let me tell you, there is not enough research out there. There just isn’t stay off Google and find advocates to talk with. Take risks in new things and new developments. I know that I took a HUGE risk by signing my son up for neurofeedback. There isnt enough data or information out there about it, but I took that risk because I knew it could be a great benefit if it worked. 
  • You will learn to NOT judge other parents or kids. We are all at different levels, we are all different and just cant compare or judge one another. We need more happiness and acceptance in this world. Period. 


I used to think of having an autistic son was ‘bad’ but it has made me patient and the best mother I could be. I wouldn’t have it any other way and I LOVEE all the things about autism and Antonio.  I learn to LOVE every single milestone and praise him. We have to learn to not see autism as being something so different and negative, but in reality it is pretty incredible.