Why I Struggle With Communication as Someone on the Autism Spectrum
I’m on the autism spectrum. And while I developed speech at a “typical” age, communication has never really come easily to me. Sure, I have made multiple YouTube videos, and I’ve done many presentations about what life is like for me personally on the spectrum. I don’t always speak in grammatically correct sentences, but I’ve made it into college and even did a TEDx Talk along the way. Yet, I still struggle with communication.
For example, I have a difficult time using the correct words to get across what I’m trying to say. I want to make sure that people understand me, but sometimes I just don’t say it right. It may be because I don’t know how to say it, or it could just be that I’m so exhausted that I can’t process my thoughts into words. It’s as if my brain just shuts down, but I need to answer a question or be present in a conversation, so my mouth keeps going. I try to avoid these situations, but it’s not always possible.
The other issue I can have is with tone of voice. Thankfully, I’m starting to become more aware of tone. It’s still a struggle for me to recognize it, however. There have been many times where I will say something, and a person hears it as maybe attitude or sarcasm. I find myself constantly apologizing for coming across as rude or uncaring or disrespectful. It can be so difficult and frustrating!
I’m glad I have the ability to speak. Yet, I still find it difficult to use that ability. And while many people may deal with these issues once in a while, I find it a daily struggle. I have tried to develop a few coping skills, such as writing out what I want to say before using a phone, or getting opinions from friends about what went wrong in troublesome conversations. In the end, it’s important for people to remember that just because I have the ability to speak doesn’t mean it’s always easy for me to communicate.
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