Sign language when talking is not an option

I took my son to three sessions of physiotherapy last week. He has bronchitis and in Belgium it’s very common that the pediatrician prescribes physiotherapy which includes inhaling a salt solution through a special inhaler that pulses the humid air out at a certain frequency. Tristan has never had use this type of inhaler before. The therapist showed the machine to us and explained how it works. He then placed the mask on Tristan’s face and switched on the machine. I thought Tristan looked terrified (at least that is what his eyes communicated to me). I asked him if he was ok. Of course he was not able to speak so I told him to respond with the signs for ‘yes’ or ‘no’. He signed ‘yes’ and I felt much better knowing that he was ok. I kept reminding him that he could communicate with me by using signs. During the 3rd session, he signed ‘no’ about half way through the process and I immediately asked the therapist to stop the machine. It appeared that the therapist had pushed the mask against his face too hard. Once Tristan had been able to explain that, the therapist applied less pressure and Tristan was fine to keep going. I’m sure Tristan was happy that he was able to communicate with me and that we could take action to make him feel more comfortable immediately.



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