“I’m speaking to you, answer when you are spoken to.”
I did answer, you did not hear me.
“Speak up, Katy! She’s talking to you.”
I am speaking.
“She didn’t even say thank you when I got her a present.”
I did say thank you, you did not hear me.
Growing up received a lot of complaints about how quiet I am. Most of the time, people think I am being rude and not answering them. In reality, I have difficulty with volume control. For me, speaking up can become an unintentional shout. Most of the time I don’t even realise that I have spoken at the wrong volume. I don’t realise that the person over 5 metres away is not going to hear my usual volume voice, and that I need to raise my voice. I can’t help what I don’t realise is a problem, after all.
I started to realise it was a problem when I had the repeated problem of talking to people and getting no reply. I assumed that the people I was talking to just did not want to reply. I should add, 75% of the time I am talking to them, it is in reply to something they have said to me. After a while it started to affect my confidence in talking to people, what is the point in talking to them if they aren’t going to reply, or aren’t interested in talking to me.
Take my nan’s living room whilst all the family are inside catching up with each other. I don’t realise the noise around me will affect how someone will hear me, I talk at my regular volume. Then the person I am talking to blatantly ignores me (though in reality they could not hear me) and I end up not talking first to anyone for the rest of the time there. Not only is it a confidence thing, its also an anxiety thing. In crowded spaces I do get nervous and naturally my voice lowers in volume. It’s not something that I choose to do, at times it feels like someone is holding my tongue, preventing me from talking at all and it takes extra effort to speak in the first place.
It all comes into my Dyspraxic mind. One symptom of Dyspraxia is a lack of control in volume, pitch, and rate. I only learned that this was a symptom a couple of weeks ago and the issues I had been having suddenly clicked into place. All of the people ignoring me, people complaining of my impoliteness, my seemingly uncontrollably low voice, it all seemed to make sense. All that time I had not even realized that I was the one behaving incorrectly, speaking in a quieter voice than I meant to. However, at the end of the day, the way I speak is part of who I am and people should not try to change that by telling me to “speak louder.”
I feel that, because Dyspraxia is commonly known as a learning difficulty, people do not seem to realise that it doesn’t just effect reading and writing. It is so much more complicated than that. Through my blogs I want to express the ways that my difficulties do affect my life. Even if only one person reads my blog, at least one person will understand my Dyspraxic mind just a little bit more.