I Have Asperger's

The unique perspective of the world through the eyes of a girl with Asperger's Syndrome

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Why I Have Trouble Speaking

Posted by Admin on September 17, 2013 at 9:20 AM

Are you one of those people who has a fear of public speaking?  It's not that you can't talk all the time.  It's only when you get up in front of a crowd.  Maybe you have clinical depression, like me.  You aren't ALWAYS feeling depressed, but when you do it's debilitating.  This is all similar to my inability to speak due to my Asperger's.


I can talk, most of the time.  I can write very well.  People always tell me how articulate I am.  However, there are times when I literally cannot say a word.  And people think I'm ignoring them, mad at them, or just didn't hear them.  They get impatient, or they get confused.  THEN I have to try to explain to them what's going on....but I can't.  Because I can't speak.


Sometimes, I get really anxious in a new situation, and I don't know how to talk.  There are NO words that I can form, because I don't know how to apply things I've already learned to current situations.  So the other day, when I was at the doctor's office, and I had to go up and give them my form to check out....I didn't know what to say.  They asked me "What would you like to do?"  Well, I was supposed to get lab work before I left.  But this thought didn't come into my brain right away.  I was trying to figure out how to form the sentence, when they said "Are you checking out or do you need a follow up visit?"  Well, NEITHER of those options were my answer.  What was my answer I was going to give?  I had forgotten.  By now, it felt like a full 10 or 15 seconds had passed and I hadn't said a word.  People were waiting and getting impatient.  Now I was under more pressure.  I looked over to my Mom, who thought I would be able to do this on my own, and gave her a look of sheer panic.  I could barely even say the word 'Mom' to get her attention in the first place.  My brain was going a million miles a minute, trying to figure out my next move and what I needed to say.  Finally, after another few seconds of my silence, my Mom took over.


It's not that I didn't WANT to do this on my own.  It's not that I didn't know that I needed lab work.  It's that I didn't know how to explain to the person that I didn't want to check out, even though I was AT the check out spot.  It was that I didn't know HOW to answer her question which gave me two options, neither of which I wanted.  It was that people were waiting and I was not finished.  I had barely begun.  It was that I literally couldn't speak.


It's not that I can't speak ALL the time.  But when I don't know what to say, I can't say it. 


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Reply Katelyn Scott
9:32 PM on September 21, 2013 
Hi. My name is Katelyn and I have Asperger's syndrome. I'm a graphic design major and am doing my senior show on the disorder and was wondering if i could use your blog for an 'article' I'm doing as part of a magazine for the show.
Reply Admin
10:18 PM on September 21, 2013 
Katelyn Scott says...
Hi. My name is Katelyn and I have Asperger's syndrome. I'm a graphic design major and am doing my senior show on the disorder and was wondering if i could use your blog for an 'article' I'm doing as part of a magazine for the show.

Absolutely. (Please give me credit!) I'd LOVE to see it when it's finished! :)

-Erin Clemens, Admin of I Have Asperger's
Reply LessonsFromLIfeskills
10:55 AM on September 24, 2013 
Hi Erin!

Found you through Twitter, and I love reading your blog. I am a special education teacher in Indiana :) Thank you for sharing your experiences!

Alison Rubel
Reply anon
5:41 PM on September 26, 2013 
I think only the ones with super high IQ will prevail in conversation. I'm pretty dumb, whenever I come back from zoning out in search of a reply to a conversation people have already moved on to another topic. When I blurt out what I had formulated to say they would look at me all weird and think I'm a retard or something.
Reply Nell
2:49 AM on December 1, 2013 
This is such a prefect explanation, do you mind if I put this explanation on my own blog? (I will obviously give you credit!) I often find it hard to articulate what I need to say, I'm finding so many of your explanations are perfect for me, I think I will have to email everyone I know say "please read this!" It explains my feelings perfectly! :)
PS my blog is called "Teen, Coeliac and Depressed" (At the time I didn't know I had Aspergers)
Reply Birdie
11:20 PM on May 16, 2014 
It's great having a mom to help, isn't it :) I was stressing just reading the third paragraph! I probably would have just checked out and run away if left to my own devices in that situation (then end up left with unresolved issues).