My speech impairment is something that I’ve never talked about before, I guess this is because I always thought it was because of my Cerebral Palsy and when I was younger, I just thought everyone who has CP has a speech impairment. But now I’ve got older and have more of an understanding about the variation of CP and I realise that not everyone with CP has a speech impairment.
When I was younger my speech was worse and I often got ask to repeat a sentence multiple times which would get me down to the point where I would say ‘it doesn’t matter’ or I would get my parents to say what I was saying for me. I suppose this used to get me down more so than now because you hear your voice different to how others hear it therefore, I used to think ‘my voice is clear so why can’t you understand?’. Now I understand why people find it hard to interpret what I’m saying but I still forget how complex my voice is until I hear it back on a video or sound recording.
I’ve never hated having a speech impairment as I’ve never known any different but as I’ve got older, I find it getting in my way even more and I’m becoming more self-conscious about it. This is because I find myself making more phone calls therefore, I get frustrated when I’m having to repeat myself numerous times over the phone. I also find doing presentations quite difficult because I never know if my audience can understand what I’m saying when I’m presenting to people I don’t know. However, there’s always a way around obstacles and therefore I often print out handouts, so they then get a general overview of what I’m saying.
I still sometimes get my parents or whoever I’m with to order for me in a restaurant or I write down my destination for the taxi driver. The frustrating element isn’t the fact that they don’t understand me because I get that they can’t help it, it’s the time factor that’s annoying. It’s when the taxi driver starts driving and then has to pull in 2 minutes later so you can show the driver your destination. But I’d rather someone ask me to repeat something than just nod and pretend they understand because this is even more annoying as you can tell they don’t understand.
I try to control my voice but when I’m laughing, and I am excited this doesn’t always happen and sometimes I need to be reminded to slow down. However, my speech impairment is part of me and it always will be a part of me, and without my ‘funny voice’ I wouldn’t be me. I wouldn’t change this and mostly importantly it will never get in the way of my confidence.
Thank you for reading,