Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Two Tips to Treat ADHD Issues with Speaking

Today Reader Becky has a question for me I thought deserved an official response. I'm sure others with ADHD experience this problem, and I'd love to know what various coping strategies people have come up with.

"I stumbled on your blog, trying to find techniques or help on how to speak better. Any advise, links etc. for a speaking fool? (ex: seeing a horse in a pasture, I call out to my husband, "look, look... a.. a... dog!"... yeah.. :/

I assume "slowing down" my output is key... my mind racing faster than I can spit it out... maybe reading out loud or something?"

What a fantastic question, Becky. ADHD folks can often have disconnects between thought and tongue. That's why we have foot-in-mouth issues all the time, but it also means we can sometimes sound stupid to our peers as our brains short out on our way to sounding like we know what we're talking about. On bad days, I worry about this a great deal. It also affects my ability to play an instrument in public. I never know when a flash of light or a flurry of motion from the audience will wipe my mind in the middle of a performance. Embarrassing.

I have a full plate right now, but this is such a good question, and I have the same problem, I'm surprised I haven't tackled it here on the blog before. I'll try to be brief.

Reading out loud is a good idea, but it might not reproduce the same glitchy experience because the thoughts are all written out for you. The problem seems more prevalent when excitement enters into the fray, like when discussing emotions or, in your case, suddenly seeing a horse. This can cause our impulsive center to misfire. Because of this problem, speaking in public can be quite panic inducing for me. It can also be detrimental to self-esteem.

I have been trying to keep a video diary to address this issue. The video diary is private. With it I am trying to get over feeling stupid in front of the camera as well as being able to express myself without those glitchy moments. As you mentioned, pacing ourselves to not let our tongues get ahead of our brains is key. I also force myself to do two audio posts a month on this blog (something I took away from my blog at Healthyplace). I'll redo it ten times to get it right, but I won't edit. That's the deal I made with myself. It must be candid and casual. It can be "mostly good", but it can't take more than a few minutes to put together. Practice does make perfect.

I have found that both of these activities help. The trick is to simulate the situations that induce the glitchy experiences without subjecting yourself to ridicule. This is one reason why I have not embraced YouTube as a means of self-expression.

Well, mostly:

Follow me on Twitter for my ADHD escapades at @SplinteredMind or my novel writing project over at @DouglasCootey. And if you're a glutton for punishment you can friend me on Facebook as well.