Sometimes people have speech at some times, but not others.
Sometimes people have very fluid fluent speech sometimes, and choppy forced slow speech at other times.
Sometimes when people can’t speak, or have trouble speaking, it’s because something is wrong. Sometimes it’s because they’re…
I used to have a really hard time convincing people that sometimes lack of speech wasn’t overload or shutdown (or as psychiatry so inaccurately put it, ~anxiety~ or ~dissociation~), but rather just being myself.
And that far from always being a result of stress, speech caused me stress and lack of speech meant I was less stressed.
I knew the autism expert I saw was no expert when I heard her tell me that if we reduced my anxiety, I wouldn’t have to rely on my keyboard so much. Later on I found out she believed meltdowns and shutdowns were not sensory at all but rather ~off task behavior~, ~manipulation~, and ~tantrums~… And I lost my last shred of respect for her.
Also, even when it *is* the result of stress, that doesn’t necessarily mean that something is *wrong*.
Sometimes it just means that life is happening. Like, when I’m doing hard things, my speech gets worse. When I’m working a lot, I look more conspicuously autistic.
This doesn’t mean I shouldn’t work or study or do hard things. It’s important for us to be allowed to do hard things, and to be allowed to be stressed and have lives. Stress is part of life.
Sometimes people try to put us in bubbles where we don’t ever do anything hard or stressful. And take any autistic sign of stress as an indication that something is wrong. And that things need to be lighter and softer and less substantive.
Those places are not good and they are not understanding or accepting. They are hell on earth.
I’m guessing that what might be appropriate here is a similar level of consideration often extended to me by my friends when I had pain every day but still wanted to do things, hang out, interact. Yes, I did periodically double over and cry out in pain, and I did often have trouble concentrating because of the pain medication I was using, but because that was an ordinary thing and my friends respect my ability to know my own limits, no one made me lie down or stop doing things. If they were concerned they asked me if there was anything about the situation that needed to change - sometimes they’d suggest something, like taking a break from walking or moving out of a crowded room, but always gave me the chance to make a decision about it myself. I’m not sure whether this would be appropriate for all people, but I think that what makes the difference here is respect and trust.
Yes. Respect makes all the difference.