Sometimes one wonders how much these brain injured children understand of the world... of course, their world is a very 'closed' one, as in Richard's case, it is his family, home and school. He hardly ventures out as Mum is 'too busy' to bring him out to 'the world'.
But though he doesn't gesticulate, speak, sit, or walk, I believe he understands to a large extent the dialogue and the nuances of conversation that he hears around him. He actually follows TV programmes he watches and he seems to enjoy Sponge Box Bob.
His eye and sound communication isn't very clear...only those close to him understand what he is trying to communicate. His clearest comminication is to turn his head away to reject something he doesn't want/ like. In school he uses the 'communication board' which he 'looks at' to choose the activity he wants eg he will choose between 'stop' or 'more' when the teacher asks him if he'd like to continue with an activity.
When he doesn't like an activity, he will just close his eyes and last week when he closed his eyes 3 times when the teacher approached him and called his name, then he'd open them again when she walked away, it became very clear to her that he wasn't interested in the activity. So she had a 'talk' with him and told him that he had to pay attention as he was in school. After the 'pep talk', surprisingly, he kept his eyes open and paid attention throughout the rest of the lesson.
So to a ceratin extent, he does understand but the challenge is to get him to communicate his understanding, his wants and needs to us caregivers....
Of course when he smiles, he is happy and his smile always brightens up our day!