Since there is not a lot of information on Developmental Verbal Dyspraxia, this post is going to be more anecdotal.
For me, having DVD has meant that I sometimes have bad coordination, spatial awareness and balance, but the main thing I struggle with is my thought process and communication.
I believe that the process of talking is the same for everyone; the only difference is, it’s such a slow process for me that I am able to observe each moment as it slowly progresses.
It goes something like this:
There is a feeling. No words, just an emotion that is felt through my body. Next the feeling becomes sounds. Sort of like when a baby is learning to talk, but they can only make one syllable sounds. I then need to make those sounds into intelligible words, but they are in the wrong order and it doesn’t make sense. At this stage I have to then put the words into the correct order to make sentences the listener will be able to understand.
It can be frustrating, not being able to freely talk and having to go through this sometimes agonising process. It usually happens in new situations where I have not been able to learn the correct response to that particular situation and/or person. This can be made more difficult when my emotions are heightened or I am under stress.
What happens is that I get stuck on the sounds or a word and cannot move on to form the sentence. I then end up stuttering, saying an irrelevant word or not being able to say anything at all.
Sometimes my mind will go blank mid sentence and I will completely forget what I was saying and will have to start from the beginning of this process. This can make a difficult situation harder when having an important discussion.
Getting the words out isn’t the only thing affected. Controlling my volume when speaking is difficult too. When I start talking after a long period of silence, I may speak more quietly or loudly then I had meant to. I am especially prone to speaking too loudly when I am trying to say something quietly – this can lead to awkward situations when saying something private…
Pronouncing words can be difficult as well. When speaking, my mouth may not make the right movements and so, I will mispronounce words or mumble. This happens even if I have said a word a thousand times. It is sort of like the muscles in my mouth forget the movements.
Sometimes my mind will be fast and I know exactly what I want to say, but the muscles in my mouth go on strike. They will refuse to move and make sounds. It feels like I am hitting my head against a brick wall that won’t get out of the way and I am left gaping like a fish.
SITUATIONS THAT CAN ARISE
Many times I have had people complain because I speak too slowly. They tell me to just say what’s in my head, but they don’t realise that what is in my head is a jumble of sounds and words.
It can also be difficult for people to understand me. Sometimes I experience a mixture of all my DVD effects at once, like speaking too quietly whilst mispronouncing words. I will be asked to repeat, but by then I will be embarrassed and end up going blank or stuttering. I know this can be frustrating for the listener as well.
So, day two finished and there is so much more to come. I hope to see you tomorrow when I will be talking about my experience in primary school and being diagnosed with Developmental Verbal Dyspraxia.
Please comment below about your own experiences. I am fascinated to understand how dyspraxia affects others!
My best wishes for all of you.