anonymous asked:

As an autistic person have you ever had trouble talking? I speak very slowly, and even though I'm multilingual no language comes to me very easily

I have a few issues with language, both with speaking and with understanding.

I used to have a stutter, which at various points in my life I worked at eliminating. Now my stutter is mostly gone, and the only time it is really an issue is after a meltdown. For a few hours after bad meltdowns my stutter is in full force. But my stutter isn’t likely a Thing thing. It’s probably its own thing. More on that at the end.

I also frequently sort of just… lose words. You see it a lot in my writing; there will be an entire word missing here or there. That happens a lot when I am speaking, too, though I usually catch it and repeat what I am saying, or clarify what I meant.

Sometimes, though, the words just… don’t come to me. And when i’m talking I’ll just substitute the word “noun” or the word “verb” or “adjective” for what I want. So like, if I were trying to say, “I want to eat the bread for dinner, drink orange juice for desert,” it might come out “I want to eat the noun for dinner and verb the orange juice for desert.”

There are also times where words are just… hard. And I have an aversion to speaking. On those days I’ll almost always talk with @paxardens if she directly speaks to me, but mostly I just avoid talking. I don’t know how to describe it other than it is… painful. But not physically painful. Emotionally? Mental? I’m not sure. It just hurts to force myself to talk. So I don’t. I think maybe on these days, talking verbally is in and of itself a sensory overload for me, but not because the sound is bad, or the feel of it is bad, but the mental and emotional energy it takes to speak is a sensory overload? I don’t know. That’s the best I can come up with.

On those days when I am pressured to talk I frequently get exceptionally frustrated, and my tone and demeanor become very whiny and terse. I need people to not make me talk. Sometimes that includes needing people to not talk to me.

When it is at its worse, sometimes all I can manage is, “Words hard. Bad.” My wife knows this means unless it is important, I’m going to be non-verbal.

This is a common feature of autism, and it is because of this that “Selective Mutism” is not a diagnosis that is comorbid with autism - if you are autistic, SM is part of the social criteria for ASD, not a separate diagnosis.

Finally, during and for a while after meltdowns (and sometimes during shutdowns) I am often fully or mostly non-verbal. Sometimes I can answer yes-no questions, but most of the time I am completely incapable of anything other than echolalia.

As a general rule, language problems in autistics are part of autism. There are some comboridities that can be additional diagnoses, but those are generally issues with physiology of speaking. My stutter, for example, is probably something unrelated to my autism.