Author Topic: I can't help sounding this way  (Read 4918 times)

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Kendo_Bunny

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I can't help sounding this way
« on: October 29, 2012, 11:27:52 PM »
So, as I believe I've posted elsewhere on the board, I suffer from atypical migraines. They aren't particularly painful, but my motion and speech go completely haywire when I'm having one. I freeze up, twitch uncontrollably, sometimes make repetitive movements, and either can not speak at all, or stutter. Since I began taking migraine medication, the freezing/twitching stage only lasts about 10 minutes, but the stutter can last upwards of two hours.

I was at home last weekend, and my stepmother heard my post-migraine stutter for the first time, and burst out laughing. She told me I would never be able to hold on to a job if I persisted in doing it, and that I sounded just too funny. Now, I've had episodes at jobs before, and I've only had one other person so far be rude about it, but since I just started doing teaching work, this really worried me. I know that explanations of medical conditions are not necessary in most cases, but if my job is going to be giving lectures, then surely I must bring up that I sometimes have a stutter caused by a diagnosed medical condition, and that I do not normally have a stutter.

Also, if anyone gets rude about it again, what can I do? Much verbal response is out of the question, because I'm going to be stuttering very hard while trying to explain, or trying to gather my dignity.

Luci

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Re: I can't help sounding this way
« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2012, 11:46:42 PM »
How frequently do the migraines occur? Are they almost predictable?

If the answers are 'very rarely' and 'usually', I hope you could just take sick days as they happen. If no other answers, I can't make any suggestions.

Your stepmother was probably shocked and didn't have time to think about what she said. If you usually get along with her, just forget it (yeah, right - I forgave my stepmother for a LOT!).

Also, if anyone gets rude about it again, what can I do? Much verbal response is out of the question, because I'm going to be stuttering very hard while trying to explain, or trying to gather my dignity

Just a sigh and shrugged shoulders, followed by a cold look if pressed is all I can suggest.

Many hugs and best wishes.



weeblewobble

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Re: I can't help sounding this way
« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2012, 11:51:15 PM »
No advice, as there is really not much you can do beyond telling your employers about this issue and advising them how you normally handle these episodes.

Also, ((((((hugs))))) and your step-mother kind of sucks as a person.  Nothing like kicking someone when they're down and ill by laughing at them and making them feel self-conscious about their condition. 

Kendo_Bunny

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Re: I can't help sounding this way
« Reply #3 on: October 30, 2012, 12:48:07 AM »
They happen about once a month without triggers, but are almost always triggered by lavender (I'm severely allergic), sometimes triggered by dehydration or stress. I can usually stammer out "I have a migraine", but then people always want to ask questions about it. Would it be rude to carry around a little note explaining my condition for the persistent people? A lot of them are not rude, but are highly concerned, because they saw me having what appeared to be a seizure, and then were left with me stuttering too hard to be clear.

PastryGoddess

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Re: I can't help sounding this way
« Reply #4 on: October 30, 2012, 01:25:20 AM »
I am also a migraine sufferer.  I'm not atypical, I present the most common symptoms. However, I do have one or two a year where I have really really bad physical symptoms such as vomiting, vertigo, stuttering, shaking etc. 

I work for myself now, but when I did have a job working in an office.  I always let my boss/dept head and HR know what may happen.  I also learned very quickly to know where a safe dark place was in order to take my medicine and relax.

I know you don't want the whole world to know what's going on, but you should at least let your boss know what may happen and let him/her know what you need in order to recover.  Do you need to go home? Take medicine? go someplace dark and quiet for an hour?  By showing your boss that you are prepared in case something happens, you'll reduce their stress as well.

Are you taking medicine for your migraines?

Kendo_Bunny

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Re: I can't help sounding this way
« Reply #5 on: October 30, 2012, 01:43:14 AM »
I am on a preventative medicine for them, and am doing quite well in general, unless exposed to lavender (which is such a rare allergy that there aren't any options to treat it, only the worst symptom). The major problem is that I'm trying to get work as a teacher, and I'm currently working as a substitute.

I think I handled my stepmother laughing at me quite well - I quietly asked my father to speak to her and make sure she understood that this was one of my migraine symptoms. She apologized for laughing, because apparently she thought I was being weird, rather than doing something completely out of my control. But if I have a migraine in front of a classroom and begin stuttering (or repeating words, or forgetting words, or being entirely unable to speak) during a lecture, how can it be handled with dignity and grace? I don't mind explaining to people that I have atypical migraines, but if I'm stuttering violently, I do not relish talking, especially now that it has been brought to my attention how "funny" I sound. Like most, I do not enjoy being laughed at, especially for a disability, no matter how transitory it is.

I suppose this is mostly asking for advice for being polite and graceful when one has a speech-based disability, though mine is fortunately not permanent.

suzieQ

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Re: I can't help sounding this way
« Reply #6 on: October 30, 2012, 06:22:12 AM »
What age group do you teach? I would (if it were me) carry a few cards around I could hand out in case of people being freaked out, so they would realize I wasn't having a stroke or something. If the "kids" you are teaching are young adults, they should be able to handle an occasional problem like this - perhaps have your lecture written down and let a student (if they are old enough) finish reading it?
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nyarlathotep

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Re: I can't help sounding this way
« Reply #7 on: October 30, 2012, 07:29:22 AM »
Carrying informative cards sounds like a good idea, with kids, and with adults who worry that you might be having a stroke.

For people who make fun of you, I'd suggest carrying a card that enquires whether they regularly make fun of people's disabilities, or whether this is a special occasion for them.*

*Disclaimer: may not be an entirely serious suggestion.

Queen of Clubs

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Re: I can't help sounding this way
« Reply #8 on: October 30, 2012, 07:51:26 AM »
I don't think it'd be rude to have a note written out to show people who are being persistent.  I'm sure they'd rather know you're okay, this is temporary, then have you fight to make yourself understood in the middle of a migraine.

As for during a lecture or class, could you have a small placard to whip out of your bag or out from the middle of your notes if the situation arises?

MNdragonlady

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Re: I can't help sounding this way
« Reply #9 on: October 30, 2012, 08:37:29 AM »
Maybe something like these?

They're small cards that can go on your keyring to help communicate with others what's going on. There are a few that reference speech issues; I don't know if they're exactly right, but maybe it would give you some inspiration.

Best wishes.

NyaChan

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Re: I can't help sounding this way
« Reply #10 on: October 30, 2012, 09:43:55 AM »
For people you know you are going to be around consistently (your coworkers & your set of students), I'd do a quick info session on it once you feel comfortable.  My teacher and one of the students in my grade school class (third grade I think...?) did this when they were explaining what they were doing with the poking of the finger and testing the blood.  We also got instructions on what to do (get a teacher) if the student passed out/other such things.  As a substitute teacher, I wouldn't worry so much about it - maybe inform the administration, and then step out of the room if you can/need to.

SleepyKitty

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Re: I can't help sounding this way
« Reply #11 on: October 30, 2012, 01:06:43 PM »
For teaching, I think a pre-emptive explanation would work fine, as long as you're comfortable with it. Think about how you would respond if it happened in class - if you couldn't talk or communicate easily, would you let them go early? Give them busy work? Try to go on like usual? Then, on the first day of class, when you're doing your introduction say something like:

"And just to let you all know, I have a medical condition that can sometimes affect my speech. Hopefully this won't be an issue, but if it is we will *insert response here - busy work or go home or whatever*." Then just move on.

In case you can't speak at all, designate a student that is responsible (ask around if you don't know them very well) and pull that student aside. Tell them that if you have a problem, you're going to hand them a note (pre-prepare the note and have it on you every day) that tells them you're having a medical issue and the class needs to *do whatever*. Then the student can make a brief announcement so everyone knows what's going on.

I think addressing it right away rather than trying to deal with it in the moment if you get a migraine will be easier on everyone.


O'Dell

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Re: I can't help sounding this way
« Reply #12 on: October 30, 2012, 01:48:05 PM »
I like SleepyKitty's idea of addressing preemptively with the kids when you start teaching. For all others, I think you'd be better off just saying "I have a migraine" as you do now, and brushing off other inquiring comments with "I'll be fine in a bit. Thanks for your concern." with a smile.

For others like your SM an icy "so kind of you to take an interest".
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SPuck

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Re: I can't help sounding this way
« Reply #13 on: October 30, 2012, 01:56:11 PM »
Maybe you could look up how people in the work place with seizures handle their work/life/medical balance?

Mental Magpie

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Re: I can't help sounding this way
« Reply #14 on: October 30, 2012, 08:51:54 PM »
Wait, I must be missing something here.  Why does it matter if you stutter?  Does it matter if someone has a lisp?  Then why does it matter if you stutter?  I'm sure students will notice that you don't always stutter and can come to whatever conclusions they like for themselves.  If you feel compelled to explain, do it the first day of class.  "Sometimes I stutter, sometimes I don't.  When I do, it is a result of a diagnosed medical condition.  Please just bare with me when I do."
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