Excuse Me?

When you go to a new place where they speak a different language, do you feel confident when you communicate or do you constantly hesitate before assuming you understand what is being said to you and what you plan to say back? Would you second guess the words you’ve said? Did I say that right?”

Well imagine if one day you randomly woke up in a different country you’ve never been to. There is no translation app on your phone to guide you, no one speaks the language you speak, and you honestly don’t even know what language they’re speaking.

That’s how I feel everyday. I tilt my head and make odd faces when people speak to me not because I am a mean person but because most of the time I am lost in translation. I make incorrect assumptions all the time. I can hear you speaking (Although background noise makes it hard for me to understand people). I think that there are some who think that my ASD diagnosis must be so mild because I can speak and I can be verbal and because I am married and I work. These are not easy for me. They are a challenge for me every single day without fail.

But on the brighter side, I am learning. If I ask you questions, please do not assume that I wasn’t listening before, that I have selective hearing, that I am just over thinking things, or that I am intentionally trying to provoke a fight.

I process things very differently from you. Communication wise, I will often say what I think I mean and realize I didn’t mean to say that and that goes without saying that I will often hear you say something and I’ll think I understand and two minutes or two years later realize that wasn’t what you said at all. Every conversation with someone I don’t know well is like starting over again. I try to guess what your tone means each time. I listen so incredibly carefully every time. I watch and think “I need to remember that next time”

Please be patient. That’s all I ask.

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About Gretchen Leary

I am 30 years old, I live in the Boston area, and I am writing from the perspective of an individual with Asperger's Syndrome.
This entry was posted in ASD, Aspergers, Autism and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Excuse Me?

  1. Nomad says:

    I started my journey of trying to learn the language when I was 15 or so, and it took me 15 years to get there, but things were already better after 7 years, the rest of the years I was refining and doing some advanced learning, so to speak to really get to a point when no one can tell the difference. It is a continuous process, and of course I am still learning. I am nearly forty now, and I will share with you how things stand. I have changed as a person, being able to communicate and understand better the NT language has helped me with self esteem, happiness and general well being. A few things I have learned permanently, like windows that were closed, and once opened, I see the light, and it is like an a-ha moment, and after some years, I do not remember how the darkness was. Some things are… umm I get it sometimes, sometimes not, and it is fine. I know how to survive on the dark days, and I can manage in the light too. And some things I did not learn. Still fake it when needed, or don’t even try sometimes (the world can go to hell, I hate you all sort of frown and scowl inwards).
    You will get better at their language, have faith in yourself. All the best.

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