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Communication Difficulties Society! watch

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    Yesterday was International Stammering Awareness Day, and it got us thinking about individuals who have communication difficulties all year round.

    Communication difficulties may include difficulties with speech, language, non-verbal communication, and social interaction. Sometimes communication difficulties are overlooked compared to physical difficulties, but they can affect people just as much. Acknowledging communication difficulties helps people get the support they need.




    As well as Stammering, other condtions with communication difficulties associated with them may include:
    ADHD
    Autism/ASD
    Dementia
    Dyslexia
    (Verbal) Dyspraxia
    Hearing Loss
    Learning Disabilities
    Selective Mutism
    Specific Language Impairment (SLI)
    Stroke
    Visual Impairment

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    What other conditions can you think of to add to the list?

    Do you have a communication difficulty or know someone who does?

    What is your experience of this?

    What advice/helpful links could you give to others?


    If you have any questions about communication difficulties, please post them below or PM me. Additionally, check out the Giving Voice Campaign
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    This is a serious issue for me unfortuantely.

    I have a hearing impairment called Hyperacusis which means that my hearing is rather sensitive. This means that if there's more than one person talking, I can't always hear them clearly. More than one noise means it goes into one horrible loud noise. At which point, it's not that unusual for me to go non verbal, which is rather scary.

    I have Autism, which means I have problems with verbal and non-verbal communication. I have a lot of problems explaining what I mean and I have a lot of problems understanding what other people mean. You have to tell me what you really mean. You can't for example, use similies and methaphors on me. They might as well be a different language to me. In my head I know what I mean; but it doesn't always come out how I intended. It's not that unusual for me to receive a message from a friend of mine (who, before retiring, taught Communication at A level) with the words "I don't understand what you really mean". My lack of understanding of language was why I was forced to tell him in the first place that I had Autism, which he responded with "I am aware that you have problems communicating". It can sometimes take me a few minutes to realise what you really mean. So if I go quiet, I'm not being rude. I'm just trying to process what you've said to me.

    You, I think missed out visual impairment from your list. (and a "r" in the word stroke!)
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    (Original post by OU Student)
    This is a serious issue for me unfortuantely.

    I have a hearing impairment called Hyperacusis which means that my hearing is rather sensitive. This means that if there's more than one person talking, I can't always hear them clearly. More than one noise means it goes into one horrible loud noise. At which point, it's not that unusual for me to go non verbal, which is rather scary.

    I have Autism, which means I have problems with verbal and non-verbal communication. I have a lot of problems explaining what I mean and I have a lot of problems understanding what other people mean. You have to tell me what you really mean. You can for example, use similies and methaphors on me. They might as well be a different language to me. In my head I know what I mean; but it doesn't always come out how I intended. It's not that unusual for me to receive a message from a friend of mine (who, before retiring, taught Communication at A level) with the words "I don't understand what you really mean". My lack of understanding of language was why I was forced to tell him in the first place that I had Autism, which he responded with "I am aware that you have problems communicating". It can sometimes take me a few minutes to realise what you really mean. So if I go quiet, I'm not being rude. I'm just trying to process what you've said to me.

    You, I think missed out visual impairment from your list. (and a "r" in the word stroke!)
    Thanks for sharing your experience, it's really appreciated. How do you find this affects things like education/work/relationships?

    There are so many things I could include in that list, which shows how complex communication is and how many factors affect it. But yes, that is a very key one which I'll add in. I'll correct my typing mistake too!
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    Mainly from me I would say that its mostly my written communication that is effected (affected?) in lots of little and many larger ways by my dyslexic and dyspraxic symptoms. However, my verbal/non-verbal communication is effected in small ways as my level of eye contact isn't the best but have learnt on how to concentrate on the appropriate amount over the years (with a fair bit of effort so that people dont pick up on it most days now) and when i m having a bad day with my short term memory i can forget what somebody said to me in conversation (like what they said 15 seconds ago on a really really bad day) so have concentrate a bit more/wait for my brains "processing" to catch up to figure out what they just said to me so that i respond appropriately. I also, find it a bit difficult to have conversations when lots of other people are talking round me in a room so i generally try to ask if we can move any important conversations anywhere quieter.

    As for advice:
    I suppose if you feel comfortable to do so, make people aware (after knowing them for a while, its not something I generally tell people when i first meet them) of what things you might find difficult and just so they have an understanding of how it might effect you on a daily basis and if you feel you can answer any questions they have (I ve lost count of the amount of people who didnt know what dyspraxia is when i tell them i have it but always try to increase their knowledge if i can) .

    Something that I myself have found really hard to do until university but have a positive attitude to any difficulties if you can, as I find that getting stressed in the middle of things makes me distracted and its better to just think "okay i m finding this hard" , quickly reflect and try to move on rather than dwelling on it that.

    As for useful links: there can be a lot of good stuff and support networks/advice about on twitter if you search for it. Personally, especially with dyspraxia there's not many good sort of government websites around living with dyspraxia as an adult (or dyslexia for that matter) so try dyspraxia foundation/dyslexia action/BDA and generally any form of peer support you can find online.
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    (Original post by BurstingBubbles)
    Thanks for sharing your experience, it's really appreciated. How do you find this affects things like education/work/relationships?
    As mentioned, not being able to understand what people really mean can cause a serious problem. It's harder when it's written because of the tone - that is, I can't always tell if you're being serious or joking. Plus, being visually impaired, it's difficult to pick up on facial expressions too.

    Most people aren't aware of my hearing difficulties. A friend is only sort of aware because we'd gone out last year and it started getting rather loud and I knew it was just going to get worse and I had to ask to leave.

    A lot of what claireestelle said I can relate to. Eye contact is for a few reasons, impossible. (I don't look straight ahead) I went away over the summer and requested that a friend explains my situation to his friends; so they were aware that I do have some difficulties communicating.
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    I am studying to become a Speech and Language Therapist in the hopes that I can, in the future, help people overcome some of the many communication difficulties out there.

    My best wishes to anyone trying to find a way to cope/overcome
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    (Original post by AmyPilot)
    I am studying to become a Speech and Language Therapist in the hopes that I can, in the future, help people overcome some of the many communication difficulties out there.

    My best wishes to anyone trying to find a way to cope/overcome
    As am I

    Do you find quite a lot a lack of education or stigma around communication difficulties?
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    Thank for making this thread bubbles
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    (Original post by CoolCavy)
    Thank for making this thread bubbles
    Do you have any experiences or advice you'd be willing to share?
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    Attached with my diagnosis of autism, I had a speech impairment. As such, up to the age of about 17 I found it quite difficult to communicate my thoughts both speech wise and written wise. I'm a lot better now than I used to be, but I always am consciously worrying about how I come off to people when I meet them for the first time or how they see me write.
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    (Original post by Slowbro93)
    Attached with my diagnosis of autism, I had a speech impairment. As such, up to the age of about 17 I found it quite difficult to communicate my thoughts both speech wise and written wise. I'm a lot better now than I used to be, but I always am consciously worrying about how I come off to people when I meet them for the first time or how they see me write.
    I'm not sure I knew that, and even after meeting you I wouldn't have 'guessed'! So thank you for sharing this. In what way do you think you'll come across? Is there anything you think helps?
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    I have a stutter. I have good days and bad days.
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    There's a few things.

    I struggle to read between the lines.
    I struggle with intonation and when I speak there is often little discernible difference between my various emotions.
    I find common social conventions like pleasantries incredibly taxing.
    I find it incredibly difficult to look at people in the eyes when I speak to them.
    I can become so gripped by anxiety that I'm unable to communicate my thoughts.
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    I don't really deal with the above. It takes too much effort to force myself to look at people when I speak and do other things so I tend to avoid interaction unless I have to or am with people who tolerate my eccentricities.
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    (Original post by comingupforair)
    I have a stutter. I have good days and bad days.
    Have you always had it, or is it acquired? What do you find helps or 'makes it worse'?

    (Original post by keromedic)
    There's a few things.

    I struggle to read between the lines.
    I struggle with intonation and when I speak there is often little discernible difference between my various emotions.
    I find common social conventions like pleasantries incredibly taxing.
    I find it incredibly difficult to look at people in the eyes when I speak to them.
    I can become so gripped by anxiety that I'm unable to communicate my thoughts.
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    I don't really deal with the above. It takes too much effort to force myself to look at people when I speak and do other things so I tend to avoid interaction unless I have to or am with people who tolerate my eccentricities.
    Thank you for your post and being able to share this Have you always struggled with these and which situations do they seem worse in? I find you have good written communication online though
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    I have a little bit of everything, but the main one is dyspraxia
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    (Original post by BurstingBubbles)
    I'm not sure I knew that, and even after meeting you I wouldn't have 'guessed'! So thank you for sharing this. In what way do you think you'll come across? Is there anything you think helps?
    Well for me, it was doing activities that helped me build my confidence, because for me I did feel that their was a link between the two. Personally, I do find myself quite annoying sometimes as I want to say x but end up saying y instead. It's not as bad now, but I do have off days as such.

    You're working with adults atm right?
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    (Original post by Slowbro93)
    I always am consciously worrying about how I come off to people when I meet them for the first time or how they see me write.
    I can relate so much to this. I know that a friend of mine always struggles (I'm not sure if it's me or him - I'm sure he once said he has age related hearing loss) to understand what I'm really saying, which is frustrating.
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    (Original post by Andy98)
    I have a little bit of everything, but the main one is dyspraxia
    Does this affect your communication/social interaction then? (Obviously don't answer if you don't want to )

    (Original post by Slowbro93)
    Well for me, it was doing activities that helped me build my confidence, because for me I did feel that their was a link between the two. Personally, I do find myself quite annoying sometimes as I want to say x but end up saying y instead. It's not as bad now, but I do have off days as such.

    You're working with adults atm right?
    Aww, I can't imagine what that's like :hugs:

    I am indeed - I'm seeing a lot of Dementia patients which really does affect most aspects of communication But they really are sweet, and I wish I could make it all better for them!
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    (Original post by BurstingBubbles)
    Does this affect your communication/social interaction then? (Obviously don't answer if you don't want to )
    Indirectly yes: at school I was a slightly overweight nerd who couldn't do the stuff all the other kids took for granted. So I obviously got bullied for that, which in turn made me less sociable. Also I have the same problem with speech as Jonathon Ross has (can't pronounce certain letters); which adds a hindrance. Then I have autistic traits on top of all that, meaning I struggle to pick up on social cues.
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    Thank you for your post and being able to share this Have you always struggled with these?
    It's hard to say BurstingBubbles . For the first 3/4s of my life, I was quite oblivious to my undesirable qualities. I had few friends but wasn't bothered by this. I was loud, obnoxious, annoying and had many other undesirable traits. I was much like Sheldon from TBBT. The last 1/4 of my life has been more difficult. With puberty and the self-awareness it brings as well as experiences of abuse, neglect and bullying, I became much more hyper-aware of my ills.

    I think anxiety plays a much bigger role in my communication difficulties than my difficulties with the ASD. After some years of trying, I've accepted it's something I'm just not good at. I've now mostly returned to my previous state of apathy toward the majority of humanity.

    Which situations do they seem worse in?
    I struggle with groups of people who know each other. With people forgetting common courtesy nowadays, I often find that they don't make the effort to introduce me to their friends and so I feel unwelcome and a nuisance. Plus, I don't like it when the attention is on me, I constantly worry I'll say the wrong thing and I can struggle to think of something to contribute to the conversation.

    In general, though, it is people my own age that make me the most nervous. It is they who make mean comments, exclude me from activities and talk about me behind my back. I generally get on fine with people at my work and other older individuals but I can't escape the feeling of dread when interacting with other teens and young adults.

    This might have been lost in the ramble but put simply, a lot of my struggles are borne out my concious mind trying to do what what my subconscious mind is meant to do.

    Consider the problem of trying to catch a tennis ball. You can model the flight of the ball but it's a complex problem. There are a number of things to factor in: the trajectory of the ball's flight, the force behind the throw, the ball's weight and any wind present. A lengthy problem which might take a considerable amount of time to model and accurately pinpoint a coordinate at which you should strike out your hand to catch the incoming ball.
    And yet, in an instant, we're able to simplify such problems and catch balls and do other sporting activities almost instinctively.

    Similarly, social interaction is too big a thing to take step by step. There are too many variables and the problem is that people like myself can struggle to do certain things instinctively. There's almost a check-list. "Am I smiling?", "Am I maintaining eye contact?", "Did I remember to ask about their day before delving into my own problem?". As a result, it can make mere conversations a tedious affair which results in a choice of isolation which only exacerbates the problem .
 
 
 
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