Let Me Finish!

There are two really, really annoying things about having a speech disorder. Okay, I lied. I know there are infinitely more than just two…but let’s go with these two points for the time being.

The first, of course, is not being able to get your words out. You know, without tripping over the words or better yet, your own mouth (shouldn’t our mouths LIKE to speak?!). It’s so frustrating to know exactly what you want to say but feel like you are watching the words come out in slow-motion (and probably pretty distorted). It’s like being the star of your own slow-motion movie, while everyone else goes about their normal lives.

What’s the second really annoying thing?

Well, if your like me, you’re trying your ¬†hardest to actually pronounce each word correctly. You know that you must – if your want to brain to make the correct connection – and in hopes that next time you want to say that word, it just may be a little easier.

So, when well-meaning family or friends cut you off in the middle of a sentence to “help” and guess what you’re saying…or even cut your off and just assume what you’re saying…well. That’s incredibly frustrating.

Here’s why.

First, like I said before, it’s so important for someone re-learning to actually try to pronounce each word correctly. Sometimes, you’re not quite ready yet. Sometimes, it might take your brain a few tries or even a few days and weeks. But, trying is what will solidify the connection in your brain – so that one day, it WILL be easier.

Also, it is very tiring learning to speak again. Interrupting just makes it worse – either we might feel exhausted from our effort and now we have to start over again, or we might feel compelled to not try as much if we are continually interrupted.

Families and friends – believe me, we know it’s incredibly slow and sometimes painful to listen to. But, no matter how much your want to, please try to let us finish. The only way we can get better is to practice.

Trust me, I am horrible at being patient. But in this case, it’s so necessary.


4 thoughts on “Let Me Finish!

  1. Congratulations on your new blog, Jenni. This is a great outlet for you and a great way for those who care about you to stay connected. And it’s such a joy to see your progress!
    I have a [brilliant] friend who has a stutter. It took me a while after I first met her to understand that she didn’t want or need others to finish her sentences. But soon I didn’t even notice her speech impediment. It’s good that you were honest about this. Continue to aim high! Much love,

  2. Good work om the new blog, Jenni. You offer important advice, and I hope you will continue to let us know how best to help you learn to speak again. i have a bad habit of stepping on others’ words sometimes, so I will take your advice to heart.

  3. Oh, Jenni, Pardon the pun, but you took the words right out of my mouth! I can’t believe the similarities in the reactions I got when first venturing out after my spinal injury. Even though I had no trouble with speech, people tended to look past me and ask Jerry or whomever I was with questions about me, as if my slow mobility meant I couldn’t respond. They mean well but people can really do dehumanizing things. I forgave the kids immediately, they’re so curious and honest and when possible I try to take the time to say something like, ‘I”m so glad you asked…” and then explain to them why I’m like I am (on their level) and the adults learn from listening. I was super sensitive 30-some yrs. ago but don’t pay as much attention to it now. Sharing your experiences is going to help so many people. I feel a book coming on and you’re the perfect one to write it, not to mention how it could aid in your personal healing as well. Can’t wait to hear more…

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