I was born with Cerebral Palsy, which gave me side effects such as a weak left side and a legally blind right eye. But, the point of my story today is that in addition to the above mentioned side effects, I also have a mild speech impairment due also to my cerebral palsy (CP).
In elementary school, I took speech therapy, which helped me tremendously. The problem though, which still occurs today, is that people sometimes had a hard time understanding me if they weren't used to how I speak. For the most part, I understood this. It's how they reacted that I sometimes didn't understand.
As I got older and went through high school and finished speech therapy, I was told people could understand me better. Family and friends and even those who did not know me well complimented me in my speaking voice. Even in college, I can't recall any major issues with anyone having issues with my speech impairment. In fact, it felt good. Being in college was the most normal I felt, ever.
Once I graduated and met my soon-to-be first husband, I ended up applying and working in a telecommunications job. My job there was to make info comer calls to convince the person on the other line to buy the product our company was selling. To do so, I followed a script I had on my computer screen.
And once again, no one really had an issue with my speech. I eventually quit that job because the company was not keeping their end of the bargain with me and it was becoming too stressful as I was also pregnant at the time. In addition to that, I also had another part-time job at an after-school program center, where I helped youth from ages 5 to 18 with their homework as well as other fun activities to keep them entertained. And once again, these children could understand me.
Unfortunately, in June of 2002, I had to go on maternity leave and was hoping to return, but some unfortunate events on their end disallowed that to happen. But anyhow, I'm going to fast forward here and say, as my daughter grew up, of course, she understood me too. And as usual, my family and friends have also.
But lately, it now seems, when I use the phone, people either think I'm a child and ask for my parent(s), or, if I have to use the speaker on my phone, they claim they are having a bad connection and ask if its possible if I can take it off speaker or if I can call back. While some of that may be true, several times, I'd just hand the phone over to someone else and guess what? Wha-la they understand THAT person perfectly. And I just don't understand. I'm not doing anything different. Some are saying it's my phone or speaker. But if that's true, then why is it not affecting anyone who uses my phone? It can be irritating when know you have something like a speech impairment and no matter what you do or say, it won't get better. It's just something you have to learn to live with. And I have. But it doesn't help when people on the other end of the line act like you can just fix it.