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From time to time I stop speaking, find speaking hard or generally ‘go very quiet’. This can be for a short periods or for a long while (days to months).

How did it start?

I am away on holiday with a group of friends at the moment. We had a day on the beach / playing frisbee in the sea and walking around a beach town. I got very tired and spaced out and stopped talking about lunchtime.

What works?

2 of the group sign ‘enough’ to get by. The other 2 are learning. We have established our own signs for things which relate to our group.

When really needed I have an app on my phone which can speak for me. Though I use it quite rarely.

What does not work?

Its easy to feel left out of conversations and others have to make an effort to include me. While I’m told this is not a problem it does require effort and when time is pressing there is no time for me to contribute. (Which is also a feature!)

How does it feel?

I feel intensely calm and collected. My thoughts are less wordy and more precise and I feel very relaxed.

Having a lower expected contribution too things results in less anxiety. It has also meant less arguments / area for confusion. When I can only express small amounts, I only express important things and even then I leave much unsaid.

Unlike unrestrained speech (where I tend to be totally transparent / have trouble hiding my agenda) with no speech I feel more in control. I can hold thoughts easier without them escaping. This also results in thoughts being better formed before I express them.

If I do speak and words just come out I feel conflicted. On the one hand its good that they are near the surface, on the other hand when they come out I confuse people and get worried I cannot keep them coming out. They also tend to come out in fits and starts.

Words do happen, but mostly when I am alone or when with individuals in quiet places.

What about when I get home?

Speech will probably return pretty quickly. It normally does, I have a few days more off work so if by Sunday speech is not working I have some exercises to get it going again.

On a more general note, speech is an odd one for me. Sometimes I loose it and it’s very frustrating. Other times it goes away and it’s not a problem.

I wish life allowed the second scenario more often. But in reality, I need speech even if I don’t always like it.

Another way of looking at it, is that while on holiday I also managed a break from speech and communication anxiety.

So, that’s about it really. Am posting this from the car on the way to the motor muesum but will be around later to answer any questions.

PS: if you would like more context, or are curious about the late lion chap I hang around with, read more here: on autism


Spaced Out & Smiling is about exploring the fun side of Autism, and trying to understand what it means to be Autistically Happy.

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Jamie: @JamieKnight
Lion: @Lickr