Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Speech Therapy

CN: abusive therapy

When I was a child, my school discovered I didn't speak properly. My reading level was determined by how many errors I made when reading aloud and I couldn't pronounce the words. I couldn't make the "old" sound. "s" and "th" sounded the same. There were others, but I don't remember what now. My teacher sent me to speech therapy.

I had speech therapy from 1st grade through 7th grade, skipped 8th grade, didn't have it in 9th grade, and had it again in 10th grade. It felt never ending. The 10th grade speech therapy I didn't mind because they timed it in order to have me miss a class I really shouldn't have been in and they actually were halfway respectful, but the rest of the time they treated me like I was nothing. Their role was to fix me.

I would go to speech therapy, and every week they'd pull out the same card, with the same words on it. I would have to read these words in the same order. Repeatedly, because I'd get words wrong. Their job was to tell me I was wrong. When I got something wrong they would tell me I was wrong. They wouldn't tell me how, or give me any suggestions as to how to fix it, and they wouldn't even say that I was pronouncing it wrong, they would tell me I was wrong. Go again. Wrong again. Repeat, repeat, repeat, wrong, wrong, wrong. I'm just wrong. That was their role, make me know that I was wrong. I'm wrong for not speaking the way they want me to. I'm wrong for being different. I'm wrong for needing to take time out of their day and needing to make them work. I'm wrong because I can't understand why I'm wrong and I'm not getting better. I'm just wrong.

Oh I had a monotone voice, later on they had to fix that too. Repeat, repeat, repeat, tell me to try again. Tell me that I need to do better. Tell me that people could never understand me if I spoke the way I did. Tell me that I need to speak normal in order to be understood. At least this time tell me that I need to raise my pitch to ask a question, still don't give me the slightest clue how to do so. Just tell me if I don't do so I'm wrong. Keep going. Be more wrong. Know how much they hate me. They won't hide it in the slightest. They make it clear that I'm supposed to know what to do to fix my speech.

All speech is wrong. But not speaking is wrong. They don't realize it, not realizing I'm autistic, but they teach me that I'm wrong if I don't speak no matter how much it hurts me. Even when it causes physical pounding migraine pain, I talk. Even when it causes anxiety attacks, I talk. Can't not talk unless words literally don't come out of mouth. Must use mouth. Only option. Taught that it doesn't matter how much it hurts me. It hurt me then, it hurts me now, that doesn't matter, I have to use speech, speech is what is needed, speech is always what is needed. It hurts so much.

In many ways speech is still theirs, not mine. Speech is something I was made to do, even though I spoke. Speech was something that now how I speak is determined by the therapy I got as a child, but the pain that happens, also came from the same place. It's when I can't make sounds the way they've taught me that I feel most natural in some ways, because I don't feel the pressure of needing to be who I've been taught. I can just be.

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