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Learning to communicate effectively

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
I have finally come to the realisation that this is seriously becoming a problem for me. I have Autism, which really doesn't help me at all. :(

In part, it's to do with the fact that most of my communication with one person is done via text and email - I hate phone calls. (I have hearing problems) We do meet up most weeks; but there isn't a huge amount of time to talk.

I have explained that in short, I have Autism (he was a teacher before retiring in 2000 and I don't think he it was something he encountered) which means that my understanding of language isn't always the way he may have intended. He seems to have implied that he is aware that I have problems with communication and I did wonder that due to my reaction to something he said to me last year, if he'd worked out that I did have some sort of problem communicating.

He did go on to explain that he did teach Communication at A Level and did tell me some things from what he'd taught:
- the meaning of your communication is the response you get back and
- there's no failure; only feedback

Or is this one of these things I can only really learn by experience?

Comments

  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Hi Melian :wave:

    Well done for being able to tell this friend about your experience of having autism and what it means to you - it seems like this conversation didn't lack too much communication skills from your part :yes:
    It's not easy to explain to people who might not understand or have much awareness of autism spectrum disorder. Though his advice is thought-provoking;
    - the meaning of your communication is the response you get back and
    - there's no failure; only feedback

    What do you think of the advice given? Do you feel this can be relevant to you?
    It does seem quite interesting for anyone dealing with communication.

    Experience can often affect the way we develop certain skills and helps us become more aware of how we are and how we react to things. And keeping in mind this kind of advice can also help be more conscious in certain situations!
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Thanks. :)

    With his advice - I know he's right. It has recently started to become a serious issue for both of us and it was a subject I tried to avoid mentioning for some time. Except, it got to the stage where I couldn't ignore it any longer and knew I had to say something. He did say in part, that this wasn't something he'd handled very well too.
  • Danny!Danny! mod Posts: 560 Incredible Poster
    one-to-two-way-comm.gif

    Hi Melian

    I find these kind of diagrams useful in thinking about communication. It's more complicated than just saying something - maybe thinking of it as a process or a negotiation can be useful.

    I also wanted to say that good communication tends to be a matter of learning skills, making mistakes, trying new things out. Being aware that you would like to improve communication, and thinking about it, is a very necessary first step :)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    That diagram is very useful, thanks. :)

    He did say in his email that in part, it was the way he'd handled / explained stuff too. I've now got to learn that if I don't understand something, that I really should ask! Discussing two different things (one via email and the other via text) didn't help us at all.
  • Danny!Danny! mod Posts: 560 Incredible Poster
    Melian wrote: »
    I've now got to learn that if I don't understand something, that I really should ask!

    It's funny how often that one is difficult, it sounds so simple :)

    'Clarification' is a really good communication technique. Reflecting back what someone has said to you helps to make sure that you've understood, and that they know that you've understood, and you can ask another question if necessary . I try and use this with important things even if I think I've understood perfectly, as you never know!
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Hi Melian, im glad that ur teacher now realises that he should of known about this before so he could of helped u on a one to one basis and tackle the problem quicker. Now that he knows atleast u both can nos start looking at possible options.

    Thinking about what u want to gain through talking to someone?
    Whats goals would u like to acheive by the time u leave?
    What your learning style is and wether ur be better off listening, seeing pictures and words or being practical of learning to do things by being shown?

    These are the questions u need to ask urself and go through with ur tutor. The more open and honest u are the better of the help and support u will get. Its really important that u can benefit from this for u. Everyday is a acheivement in its self.

    You could look have a look at The National Careers Service website as they have lots about communcation, finding work and selling urself at interviews. This might help u to put this into practice. Theres also a test u can do to find out what career ur be better off doing. May come up with a list of jobs. What do u think about that?

    In the mean time keep reaching out to us. You have done really well to have been open and honest to us with how ur feeling. Hopefully the advice would be helpful for u.

    Good Luck x
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    He's not my teacher. He retired in 2000. He's a friend of mine.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Well, that just was just awkward.

    He picks me up on a Wednesday (last night) and the subject of my email came up. Unknown to me, he has some experience of Autism; but not the type I have.

    I explained in my email why I reacted the way I did when he said "even if they're as rubbish as you", (I said "er, thanks", went to walk off and he had to explain he doesn't quite mean that) which whilst he does remember saying that, he said he can't remember why he used those words. (I do and explained, from what I remember, why he said that) He did say it was one of those things that unless you really know someone, (we'd known each for about a year at the time, I think) t's not the sort of thing you can really go around saying to people.
  • Danny!Danny! mod Posts: 560 Incredible Poster
    Melian wrote: »
    Well, that just was just awkward.

    He picks me up on a Wednesday (last night) and the subject of my email came up. Unknown to me, he has some experience of Autism; but not the type I have.

    I explained in my email why I reacted the way I did when he said "even if they're as rubbish as you", (I said "er, thanks", went to walk off and he had to explain he doesn't quite mean that) which whilst he does remember saying that, he said he can't remember why he used those words. (I do and explained, from what I remember, why he said that) He did say it was one of those things that unless you really know someone, (we'd known each for about a year at the time, I think) t's not the sort of thing you can really go around saying to people.

    That sounds like really good open, honest communication to me :) Being able to explain why you reacted to something and talking through it together is really impressive.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Just thought I'd update this one:
    I still have the odd conversation with him where either has no idea what I've just said (he usually repeats what he thinks I've said and implies I'm not making that much sense) or tells me he doesn't quite understand what I'm trying to get at. In my head, I know what want to say. It's either not being to say it or type it and it making sense.

    I am aware that part of the issue regarding my speech (he isn't the only one who has issues understanding my speech) is because of the medication I'm on.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I'm sorry to hear that is the case. I see you have tried to do everything you could to spell out to him what you mean.

    I think he needs to try and think of other ways to help you with your social skills. Maybe you both just got to work out a way understanding each other's sentences and words. You should try and tell him this the best possible way you can.

    Do you practice what your gonna to say to someone at home?? If so what techniques do you use to tell them??

    I also think puzzles, letters, first beginner books and social activities might help you to work towards saying sentences and understanding what sentences means.

    You could also bring this up when you next see him but your doing everything you can at the moment to help him understand.

    Also it's not your fault that your on medication and he should understand that.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I don't have anything too helpful to say, but I know how frustrating it is when you can't communicate exactly what you're trying to. Granted, not in the same way as for me a lot of issues stem from my stutter. But it has affected the general way I talk and the words I choose, and sometimes it can be quite detrimental.

    Sorry if this is a silly question, but would a change in medication be possible to help the speech side?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    A change in medication isn't an option, sadly. I'm very limited to what I can take due to what else I'm on. I've just spent the best part of the weekend ill because no matter what I drink, I'm still feeling so dehydrated.

    I know he's not the only person who has issues with understanding my speech either.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Sorry about the previous message before. I didn't mean to send that.

    It sounds like things are difficult at the moment. I know your doing your best to try and get others to understand what your trying to say.

    I know this must be hard for you. Only if you both finding it hard to understand each other could you find a way to communicate?

    This maybe something he should work on with you so he can help you the best possible way but in the mean time do you think practicing at home will help? Maybe using books, puzzles, letters or other activities might help.

    I see there's nothing you can do about taking your medication and I think he needs to understand that that's also effecting you two. It maybe the medication what's making you feel dehydrated. You might find having a big bottle of water with you might help and having some boiled sweets help two.

    Also if you feel tired and stressed then maybe having some time out to relax and stay calm might help.

    Remember were here if you wanna talk x
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Urgh. I get the impression that you really don't have the faintest idea.

    Believe it or not, he is doing his best. We were emailing each other last week. We are (assuming everything goes to plan) planning on going to a festival next month. He'd sent out a group email and a few emails to me where he'd explained that due to some issues, we may not be going. Because of my issues, in one of his emails, he'd worded it slightly differently to the group email he'd sent out. We were emailing each other about other stuff. (I've never been abroad before and had a few concerns) I then asked that he gives me some warning of changes, when we do stuff, etc. (I know I need to email him because there are a lot of issues I have which I don't think he's aware of) He replied and told me that's fine. I just have to be straight with him.
  • Danny!Danny! mod Posts: 560 Incredible Poster
    Hey, I just wanted to say that we all have conversations sometimes where we don't manage to put across what we want to say. I know you have some particular difficulties, but I also thought that was worth saying because I know that once someone becomes aware of an issue (like not communicating clearly), it can be really easy to see every instance of it as something to do with us personally, rather than something that happens to everybody (for example, I have an older friend who was worried whenever she forgot something that it was because of her age, and I pointed out that we all forget things sometimes).

    Have you spoken to other people with autism about how they deal with communication? It can be really helpful to get other people's experience. There are some links further down this page for groups and places that you could do that, if it interests you: http://www.autism.org.uk/living-with-autism/communicating-and-interacting/social-isolation.aspx

    Also, do ask for help if you need. For example, if you want to send someone a message, or explain something difficult to someone, you could run it by a friend first to make sure you're clear, or put something up here.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I'm sorry if I don't seem to understand your situation but I'm just going by what you put up on your thread.

    Maybe someone else might have better advice then me.

    I was only trying to help and I'm sorry if I have upset you.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Crazy Cat x
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