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Difficulty putting thoughts to words

Discussion in 'General Autism Discussion' started by LostInSilentHill, Oct 27, 2017.

  1. LostInSilentHill

    LostInSilentHill Terrible Gaurdian Angel

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    So, I'm a smart person (also, very humble XD). For instance, I have an advanced vocabulary (but weird grammar) and I know a lot of complicated and long words, but if you were to ask me what facade meant, I couldn't put it into words. I know the meaning and could put it into a sentence, but I couldn't give you an actual definition. The same goes for explaining my thoughts and feelings; even writing this post (and all others) is difficult and I can't express what I really mean in words.

    This makes life very difficult for me because I can't seem to explain why certain things make me upset, or why I did something that made others upset. Is this a common thing among those with ASD? If so, is there a different method of communication I could use? I know that people get upset with a lot, I am a frustrating person to be around, simply because I can't express myself properly. I think this is also why I tend to use excuses to explain things, it's easier to use the closest approximation to my thoughts, even if they are still far off the mark.

    The closest thing I can think of to explain it is that things get muddled once I try to say or write them done. It's like speaking with a mouth full of peanut butter, and writing is almost like the words get scrambled and jump around or blur.
     
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  2. Joel's Hear

    Joel's Hear Really high protector of Scotland

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    Sometimes I'm very articulate, sometimes I'm very cluttered, but usually I exist in between closer to cluttered.
     
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  3. Gritches

    Gritches The Happy Dog V.I.P Member

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    Ha, I totally get the "facade" example. "Facade" means "facade", not sure what else to tell you, is what I'd usually say to someone. Then again, I can be kind of an ass.

    As for explaining why something upsets you, it sounds to me like you know why but have trouble articulating it. Are you frequently with the same people, or one same supportive person like a significant other? It's pointless to try to explain until you've slowed down and figured out a way to articulate it, plain and simple, and if you have supportive people around you maybe you could explain the whole situation that you aren't able to explain it yet and coach to them a non-verbal signal to have them cover for you until you've figured it out?

    The mouth full of peanut butter analogy certainly sounds like you're scrambling to explain. What I would be trying to figure out here is how to stall until you've found the right words, bottom line.
     
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  4. Beguiling Orbit

    Beguiling Orbit Neurotribe Champion V.I.P Member

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    Are you easily able to pinpoint the specific emotion you're feeling at any given time? If not, then maybe keeping a color printout of a Plutchik Wheel close-by might help.

    Better communication could simply be a matter of using "feeling" statements: "I feel [insert name of emotion you're feeling] when you [explain action they did that caused your emotion].
     
  5. SusanLR

    SusanLR Well-Known Member

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    I have more verbal problems communicating.
    Writing seems to be the best way to express myself in a way that is fluid.

    The only time I have been good at verbal communications was when I taught. I've been an instructor in modeling when I was in my early twenties, then later an instructor and occasional speaker in college for parapsychology.
    The difference was being in control.
    Being on the catwalk or at the speaker's podium I didn't really have to do a back and forth interaction.
    They were silent. Watching and listening to what I was saying.
     
  6. Streetwise

    Streetwise very cautious contributor V.I.P Member

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    What I always do is look at the etymology of the word ,as there is usually a meaning that means something to me ,usually the first line of the definition doesn't mean anything to me ,but if I keep reading on ,there is something ,there are different websites for The etymology of words.
     
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  7. Voltaic

    Voltaic Most likely a real person

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    I found talking to my self (excessively) helped my learn how to cominucate better. Often times, even better than writing now on certain subjects. As evey one likes to say, 'practice makes perfect'
     
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  8. dragoncat16

    dragoncat16 Active Member

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    As people on the spectrum, we are supposed to have trouble with abstract ideas. I guess a definition of a word qualifies as that. When I think of a definition, I always want to come up with a synonym for the word in question or an example in a sentence showing meaning through context rather than a definition per se. The word "facade" has so many possible meanings, but they are all closely related in my mind. I see it as a picture of something that is masking out something else, or something or someone that is presenting what is on the surface as its real identity. It's not really that easy to describe in words, even though I consider that word to be part of my vocabulary.

    For me, it's the same in my field of physics. I always had trouble when we were presented only with a definition of a theory, but once I saw even one example of how it's used, I immediately understood the theory and could use it in all sorts of different problems. The definition of a theory isn't important to me at all, though understanding how it is used allows me to come up with a definition in words if I have to. In my mind, the theory is equated with how it is actually used in practical situations. I never realized that my mind was fundamentally different from others in this respect, but it doesn't seem to have limited me.
     
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  9. Chance

    Chance "all who wander are not lost" - Tolkien V.I.P Member

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    My guess is that once any stressor is removed you can basically become an Einstein...
    When I'm alone, my head takes me places I cant even imagine, nor would I dare try and explain... Because if I do try to get it out of my head, and present it to others 9 times out of 10... I am an idiot, never wanting to be, or meaning too...

    I think its all tied to what gets us ramped up and then roadblocks start going up everywhere in our heads. We have to navigate the road blocks (or neural blocks) while still trying to explain what is now basically mind mush.
     
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  10. Judge

    Judge Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    When I think of such things relative to my own thought processes, it reminds me of how my thoughts are moving at a much faster pace than my ability to verbalize them. And that when I attempt to "synchronize" the two, it sometimes comes out as "mush". :eek:
     
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  11. xudo

    xudo something and nothing

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    Yeah, I have trouble explaining what words mean too. Really annoying since I have an 8 year old niece who is constantly asking me what words I use mean.
     
  12. Voltaic

    Voltaic Most likely a real person

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    Talking to myself, I can talk well enough, but when it comes to social situations My talking ability is on the low side. The only time I can talk well to someone else is when it is my special interests, which is pretty limiting in the amount of things you can talk about.
     
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  13. Keigan

    Keigan Restless Mind V.I.P Member

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    @LostInSilentHill

    Research Alexithymia, it is a condition that impacts 10% of the general population and is not specific to AS or ASD.

    There are two types;
    - trait, DNA based which is pervasive
    - state, which is environment following trauma and can be helped through therapy

    I’m Alexithymic, I have the basic emotions of happiness, frustration, anger and some sadness - though very little words for emotions in between.
     
  14. InPrincipio

    InPrincipio Not all those who wander are lost

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    Writing is definitely easier for me. In fact, I have to write down everything that I need to get straight with the doc when self-advocating.

    A few years ago, I was really considering further studies to attain a PhD, but I knew I would struggle with the oral defense of the dissertation, once I got to that. I also really don't like having to present things in front of competing students, who ask questions to trip others up (they are often expected to do so, and it is thought to be a positive trait for PhD candidates, depending on the program). I just have never done well with that, giving or receiving it. Anyway, I just let that desire die. I also convinced myself (rather easily) that I wouldn't be able to give that much of my time to something so narrow, when I'm interested in way too many other things! I guess I've moved on. :)

    Then there are the migraines... They sometimes rob me of the ability to remember words that I use fairly often. I'll be talking about something and all of a sudden... blank... and I have to apologize and stop altogether, unless it comes to me. It's very awkward.
     
  15. DesertRose

    DesertRose Well-Known Member

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    If I can't explain a word to someone else, I look it up, or tell the kids to look it up if they ask. I know what a word means usually, but trying to explain it, that's a whole other thing.
     
  16. Robin Winter

    Robin Winter Lover of Cheesequakes

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    I have this problem verbally, but not so much with the written word. I can't organize my thoughts in a verbal discussion. I trip over my words, stutter, etc... When I'm writing, though, I can lay everything out and make adjustments where needed, I feel less stress, less "put on the spot", and I can generally articulate my thoughts quite well. Or at least *I* feel like I can. When I read it back it makes perfect sense to me, but not necessarily to others.
     
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  17. Robin Winter

    Robin Winter Lover of Cheesequakes

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    I also tend to read and write things far more literally than a lot of people do though, so that's probably where some of the miscommunication happens. Others like to "read between the lines" of what I'm saying, when in fact there is nothing between the lines.
     
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  18. DesertRose

    DesertRose Well-Known Member

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    I keep telling my family I'm going to make a bunch of index cards with words on them. That way I can pick out the words, hand it to them and let them put it into a coherent sentence o_O.
     
  19. Chrysanthemum

    Chrysanthemum Active Member

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    Sometimes I feel like I say words or phrases that I don't really mean or other than what i wanted to say while saying a sentence but I think usually I could correct myself.

    If one of your "difficulties" is just explaining a meaning of a word if you have access to a dictionary you could just show the dictionary definition though I know they may be complicated for people to understand sometimes. If I were trying to describe "facade" I might say something that you try to give and give the impression of but not what or who you really are (I'm not sure I know what exactly the word means though).

    I think some people express themselves somewhat better through writing or typing than through talking; that could be a communication strategy and maybe just explain that sometimes you prefer writing or typing to talking or find it easier if that is the case. Perhaps you could use drawings or visuals or pictures (that you draw or that you find) to clarify what you are referring to, or a communication board or or other communication device. Maybe you could use sign language systems if you think it would be useful or if you want to.

    For expressing feelings maybe you could show an emoticon or explain an feeling using a number scale or thumbs up, thumbs sideways and thumbs down (I realize expressing feelings may not always be that simple).

    You could also explain to others your difficulty and explain that sometimes you find it a little difficult or take time to put explanations into words (I would guess that most people probably do sometimes) if you prefer to just talk but think that you may struggle a little or take time with explanations.

    But I can relate because sometimes I have similar difficulties, mostly in not saying out loud what I want to say or what I'm saying in my head but saying something different, but mostly I do like talking.