So what do you do when you become tongue tied? Do you blush with embarrassment and find the nearest hole to hide in or do you smile talk some jibberish until the words are finally ready to come out of your mouth?
It’s only in my adulthood I’ve noticed more and more how much tongue tied-ness effects me. I mean I was a selective mute until four so no tongue tied-ness just complete tongue lockdown. In my childhood I didn’t talk much or I would talk insanely but again the demands on my quality of speech were not high. There was no real pressure as a child to speak correctly and accurately, for my family they were just so happy that I was speaking. Then I reach adulthood. In adulthood you have no option but to talk at some point in some way. Of course there are certain things you don’t have to talk for anymore, like supermarket shopping you go to self service and online banking just pay money straight to someone without a word exchanged. However the career that I’m in: education, there is no option but to speak. It would be basically impossible to go your whole day without speaking, unless you were really bad at your job, but I’m not, or sponsored not to.
I like my job I do I’m a bit bored of it at the moment but that’s a different story. Anyway my job really is to communicate things, in a nutshell. I have to communicate with teachers on what they want me to do, with students either telling them off, explaining things, comforting them, etc. and when I’m trying to communicate with my bosses. Even when I’m walking down a corridor I have to communicate ‘thank you’ when a door is held for me, even if I’m miles away then I have to kind of speed up so that they are not holding the door too long. This constant communication means that my brain is working over time and with everything my brain has to actively think about anyway one thing must fall short and that is usually my speech.
So I’m in a classroom a kid has their hand up I go over. They say ‘I don’t understand’. Okay brain this is it, lets think of something useful to say. Tumbleweed. Ah okay let’s try that again brain think of something useful to say. Okay good brain you know what the end result is at least but how do you bloody start it. So it’s been like maybe ten seconds so I have to say something. So I start to say the right thing in response to the student’s query. However, my brain cannot multitask and I’ve said all that I’d planned but wasn’t able to think ahead of time to what I need to say and so many words are going on in my head it comes out as ‘blah, blah, blah’ along with other incoherent noises that don’t amount to any word ever heard. I’ve hit the tongue tied point. But I didn’t run away because I can’t I still have a job to do. So then my usual line is ‘wait, I have to think and process what you’ve said’. So I know what you might be thinking saying this to a teenager they must make fun of you. Well actually no I think in the hundreds to thousands of times I’ve done this over the pass two years of working there maybe once or twice, max 5 times has anyone ever tried to poke a small joke and that is mainstream as well as SEN. The students just wait patiently even though sometimes I can be like over a minute. Not a word, sometimes they just give a smile as if they are cheering me on or understand because let’s face it we all get tongue tied and we all know how it feels. It’s not a nice feeling in fact it’s horrible you feel like your pathetic and can’t do anything, you feel completely inadequate and like you’ve failed to do a basic things (at least this is how I feel).
I used to be afraid of being tongued tied. I used to want to hide in a corner. I felt like this was another part of my autism failing me. But whose that helping? It’s not helping you or the person your talking to. One of human beings’ biggest problems is fearing mistakes. “A mistake is just a step towards success” that’s what I think. Also in my line of job specifically I wanted the students to see my mistakes, my flaws because I don’t want them fearing their own. So when I am tongue tied I embrace it. I tackle it head on! I make incoherent sounds until the words come to my mouth, I let the tumbleweed roll as I collate my thoughts. As autistics we are more prone to this definitely due to having language difficulties whether expressive or receptive and it is a massive part of our condition but we are not the only ones who get tongued tied. Everyone does. Nothing to fear at all.
Thanks for reading. Hope you liked it. Peace out!