I was diagnosed with Asperger's a couple of years ago and I'm currently at university. I recently went back to the assessment documents and this website was mentioned for me to look at.
Sometimes, I just can't speak (or can, but barely), and I don't understand why. It doesn't seem to follow a pattern (that I can make sense of). I don't know what it is or what to do, but it's been like this all my life and I am gradually getting better. I'd like to speed it (the improving) up, if possible.
In school, I went from not being able to speak to anyone, to just a few people, to kids in my year, to all kids, to gradually being able to speak to teachers/adults outside of family. I've made progress in university too - I didn't send emails, now I do (still takes me a while and I get the same reaction(?) as when I struggle speaking), and I'm speaking more (in general). I can speak to anyone (apart from situations when I can't - it's situations rather than people now).
I don't feel anxious or worry or fear anything - there is nothing going through my head when this happens. I'm feeling normal, I've got stuff to say, I've got a chance to speak, but when I try to, for some reason I can't (or it takes me a while to start and I can barely put words together).
This happens for seminars/presentations, which are a part of university coursework.
There's no problem in terms of lecturers giving me a hard time for it or anything (the opposite). The first presentation I worked with the group to make it but didn't present it and the second one I did (attempted to, at least) it just to my personal tutor (couldn't speak, even though I can talk to her - it makes no sense). It's having no impact on my grades. I've got a third one coming up and I'll be up there (hopefully) speaking a bit. The disability advisers at university seem to be more about accommodating it rather than fixing it, I think, anyway. Or maybe I can't explain it well enough to them if I don't understand it. I don't know to be honest, since I didn't have any of this in school since I had no diagnosis until after I already left.
What is going on here? Does it have a name? Is it something that I can get better at faster? If so, how?
I've tried to understand the pattern of it, but I don't see what would tie it together. Here's what I can think of:
I can't speak to google assistant (or siri, or cortana, etc. - the "ok google, look up X" or "siri, play Y" things), but I can do phone calls. I couldn't present to my personal tutor, but I can speak to her. I could barely speak in a discussion/debate, but I can speak to every single person in the room with no problem. I sometimes struggle with emails to my personal tutor, but not always. I went around employer stands at a careers fair starting conversations with absolutely no problem, I can speak to disability advisers I've never met, again, no problem, not had this problem in any social situations (e.g. at the pub, on the bus). I'd have thought speaking to potential employers or being in social situations with this would be more of an issue than speaking just to my phone, but no.
For what happens, I'm not sure. I can't speak and my face gets hot, but that's it, I think. I'm not breathing fast or anything like that (I'm pretty sure).
I don't know where to even start, all I really know is I have Asperger's.
Thanks for reading, sorry if it is long. Any sort of input on sorting this would be appreciated. Or anyone who is similar to this, that would be interesting to hear too.
I think it would be a good idea for you to find a speech & language therapist - either through resources at Uni, the NHS, or privately.
I'm no expert and don't have personal experience, but my daughter has a speech delay so I have some understanding. There's lots of reasons why speech problems can occur and I think you could use input from an expert to work out what's going on and get some coping mechanisms.
Hi, thank you for responding.
When I was diagnosed (NHS), I was referred to a local organisation where I've been on the waiting list for the past couple of years. Is this what I'm on the waiting list for, or is this something separate? If separate, what do I need to do?
What resources could the uni have and what do I do to get them? I did a study needs assessment before going and I made the university aware. I have seen a few of the uni's disability advisers. I have no idea what I'm doing. I did used to have a mentor at the start, but she said she didn’t know how to help me, and I don't know how she could since I don't know what help there is or what it is that is wrong (specifically). I tried to explain this to a disability adviser, but he misunderstood (probably my fault), thinking I don't think I can be helped.
I don't know how to fix this. My mentor said she didn’t know how to help me, I don't know what could be done (since I'm clueless on this whole thing since I didn't have this in school), she felt she was wasting my time. I don't want to have a mentor again and the same happen so I've just left it.
Is that something fixable and if it is, is this what the resource my university has is?
I am so sorry for being so clueless.
Don't be sorry for not magically knowing how the system works. The burden of knowing who to contact shouldn't be on the people who need help! Could you imagine if you were hit by a car and you needed to tell the paramedics what treatment you needed? It'd be ridiculous. They'd be prosecuted and rightfully so. But for some reason with anything mental health or neurodiversity related, we're somehow supposed to know what we need and who to ask to get it, and self-advocate. It's ridiculous and absolutely discriminatory. (Sorry. Sore point of mine!)
I don't know what you're on the waiting list for - you'd have to get in touch with whoever did the assessment and ask. I know once my daughter was diagnosed (autism rather than asperger's) and we requested an EHCP, we were given a case worker. Can you check the letters you've had and see if you have one? If you do, they would be a great place to start and should be able to tell you who you need to contact.
I'm not sure what resources your uni has, but most of them should have some kind of student counselling service. That's where I would start - if they don't know what to do, they should know who to ask.
If you weren't having this problem in school, it seems logical to me that it's not permanent, especially since it's situational rather than all the time. I would hazard a guess at stress? Uni is a massive life-changing step; everyone has some amount of stress while they're there, and it comes out in different ways. But it takes a professional to make that call for sure.
No need to be sorry.
I just went through the letters, and I think I am waiting to be allocated a worker, if I understand it correctly ("when we are able to allocate a specific worker" and "there may be a long wait for you to be allocated to a worker" in particular make me think that).
The university does have counselling, but I thought it was mental health that is for? I also have no experience with that. I'll try to look into it, thanks for the advice.
I did have this problem in school, I've had it all my life, I just wasn't diagnosed until after school. It is gradually getting better and always has been - I am better than when I started university, and much better than at school. Now I have a diagnosis, so maybe I can do something with that knowledge, or something. Maybe I'm wrong. But I don't think I'm any more stressed than the others, maybe less.
I'm confused - you said in your previous post that you didn't have this in school? I took that to mean that you didn't have the speech issue in school, but you've always had asperger's. Please do correct me if I'm wrong!
Counselling usually is for mental health issues, or for anyone going through a particularly stressful time that could use some additional support. But statistically speaking, people with asperger's and autism are likely to also have mental health issues, so a counsellor should know what those things are and how to access services and support for them, if they're unable to provide that support themselves.
If there's a phone number on the letters about waiting to be allocated a worker, you could call and explain that you need help with a specific issue now, and until you have a worker, who should you call, how do you access the support you're entitled to? And then see what they say.
Sorry, I said "this" as I don't know what the word is. The whole having disability advisers, having a mentor, that sort of thing. Accommodations? I don't know what I'm doing since I had none in school. As I said in the original post, I couldn't speak to anyone but a few people when I was younger, whereas now I can speak to anyone but in a few situations, so it's much better now.
I can't think of what mental health issue I could possibly have (I am fine as far as I can tell), is this going to be a problem?
There is a phone number. But is it not want rather than need? I mean, it is not actually really impacting anything (not making me unable to go to university, not impacting my grades, etc.). It seems stretched (and mentions this, really) and so wouldn't it be better to leave it to people who really actually need help?
Hi NAS35855 and welcome to the community from a fellow Aspergian.
From what you have described, it seems that you are having trouble with 'presenting' a 'pre-fixed' amount of written information 'to' a group of people ~ whereas in one to one 'fluid' communications 'with' people more individually, it is generally OK. Would that about sum it up perhaps?
Hi. This is really good, it is good to have a new perspective. Thank you.
All the times I am struggling, it is "presenting"/"to" rather than "fluid"/"with" a person or group (it is not every "to" - such as talking "to" employers was fine, but there is no "with" that this happens that I can think of).
I don't know what you mean by "'pre-fixed' amount of written information", sorry, could you explain?
I am not sure individually vs group makes a difference at all. I struggle presenting to both individuals and groups, and I am fine in both conversations individually and groups (in terms of this specific thing, anyway).
But this "to" vs "with" seems to be a thing, and I'd not picked that up, so thanks.
NAS35855 said:I don't know what you mean by "'pre-fixed' amount of written information", sorry, could you explain?
@Deepthought means that the presentation material was prepared in advance, as opposed to (say) improvising the whole thing with a pen at a whiteboard.
How many presentations have you actually given, and how long do you practice each one? How well do you know the subject material?
Glad to have been of some assistance.
There are three modes of social communication, 1.) With, 2.) To, and 3.) At.
Talking 'With' people involves everybody in the group conversationally replying to each other.
Talking 'To' people involves giving information or instructions to one or more others, as in the sense of talking or even shouting 'At' one or more people involves gaining or keeping their attention.
So to various extents there will more or less of each of the three modes of social communication in each type of verbal interaction ~ as a mix or combination, such as 70% talking 'with', 25% talking to, and 5% talking 'at' people during informal/friendly gatherings, as a vague approximation.
Being asked to write so many words on a particular subject is a "'pre-fixed' amount of written information" ~ homework, presentations and dissertations and all that.
Well in informal/friendly situations you get short periods of interaction with others, so you can gauge or measure how well things are going and adapt more easily in terms of the conversational territory, whereas having to wait until the end of a presentation, to see what response or reaction you get from your audience, be that one or many, is difficult for alot of people actually.
Essentially you appear to be describing what some call performance anxiety, or stage fright, and as such people talk about drying up, as in the sense of no fluidity of words, or a complete lack of words, and a dry mouth.
When doing a presentation, it can help to do it in a semi-conversational style, as in the sense of greeting your audience in fashion to get a response, and a certain intervals work the audience to see what their reaction is ~ i.e. ask them if they know what you mean, or some give amusing anecdotes, or whatever else may work for you and them. You can also develop your 'presentation' style and build your confidence up by practising with family, friends and so fourth.
My pleasure, again I am glad to have been of some assistance.