Being nonverbal along with having Cerebral Palsy is extremely difficult when you are wanting to be heard. You are restricted in terms of how you can convey your thoughts and feelings, and at times it feels like you are in jail but you are not.
Throughout this post, I am going to give my top five situations that are personally difficult for me. If you are non-verbal and can relate to some of the situations, please write a comment below. Sometimes I feel like nobody really understands how I feel being a nonverbal. If I feel this way, I am sure that if you have Cerebral Palsy and are nonverbal, you get frustrated as well. In 2016, I am going to focus more on people who have Cerebral Palsy as well as being nonverbal. I feel this group is not being helped and having lived my entire life this way, I know how much of a struggle it is.
Giving quality advice about ALL disabilities is extremely difficult, especially since i have not experienced what it is like to have other disabilities. I wish I could help every person with a disability, but if I try to do that, I would not be helping everyone the best I possibly can.
Top five situations how being nonverbal gets me frustrated
1. When I was a kid, I would get so frustrated when my parents got angry at me because I did something wrong. I could not just say what I wanted fast enough. As I tried to type, would put sentences together that made no sense which made my parents more confused. The reason I ran sentences together is because my mind was a thousand times faster than I could type. This happens even now with my friends.
2. When I am at a party or a gathering and a group of people is talking about something. I try to contribute to the conversation, I have a hard time. I type what I want to say which takes a few minutes. When I say my comment, everyone sometimes thinks ‘what the heck is Chris talking about?‘. The conversation has been changed two or three times since I started typing my message. So I usually listen to the conversation rather try to talk. It is actually lonely for me at parties because I just sit there and watch. I also wonder what it would be like to say anything at any time.
3. This situation is similar to the previous one but you want to talk to someone who you are attracted to. You don’t know if you should go up to them and type something to say, or type what you want to say before you go up to them. Both ways seem awkward because with the first way, you are there typing away and the person may be thinking to themselves ‘what is this person doing here?’. If you type something to say before you go up to them, the person might have moved or left. Both ways are really frustrating to the person who is nonverbal because even this simple interaction is hard to accomplish.
4. When a nonverbal person is looking for a job, the first thing that an employer sees when the person comes in is that the person is nonverbal. The person might tell them ahead of time, but it is still awkward if the person who is doing the interview has never interacted with somebody who can’t talk. Is it the fault of the person for not experiencing it? No! There are not many people who are nonverbal so expecting people to understand how to handle this situation is not right. So we have to take the opportunity to teach them how to interact with us as nonverbal individuals.
Talk on the Phone
5. Talking on the phone is really difficult. Sometimes the person can not hear you really clearly. Beside that, it takes a lot of time to talk on the phone. So I usually text people instead because it is easier.
With all of the frustration with being nonverbal, we have to go out and contribute to society. As nonverbal individuals, people must understand that some of us can still communicate, and all we ask for is patience and understanding. If we can help people to understand this about us, the frustration might decrease because people can see our drive to be heard. Yes it is hard but we can do anything we want. With the technology improving everyday, who knows we might talk one day like any other person in the world.