Another way that typing has helped me is with my blog. I am able to say things, especially about my feelings that I cannot get out through my mouth. Sometimes, it can take weeks to get it out even by typing, but it does come. If I was trying to speak, it would never come out. I have noticed that when I am upset about something, if I blog about it as soon as possible, I am able to get my real feelings and frustrations out. This is a new and helpful thing. It is helping me to become a better advocate for others and myself. The words are starting to come out through the keyboard, but it has to be done as soon as possible, otherwise the words disappear. I also have to be careful because certain people may read what I write and get worried (this has happened even though there is no reason to be). I am tempted to start another blog but keep it anonymous so that I can say whatever I need to say. It would be interesting to see what would happen if I had that freedom. Something I have definitely never had with the spoken word.
I type to talk. Without typing I have no voice to tell you I am smart. I spell my thoughts because I cannot speak with my mouth. Thoughts remain imprisoned in my mind escaping only through my finger on a letterboard or keyboard. I tell of my experiences of being autistic in my writing and blog. Without typing I am misunderstood as retarded and unteachable. You cannot tell from my exterior that I am following everything you say. Understanding comes easy to me.
Some days I spend most my day typing. In the past, most days. I type to share who I am, to figure out how to interact with the world, to interact with my boyfriend, and to teach. I am verbal. I’m also someone who interacts better online. Most my communication has been through IM and IRC. I’ll sit down, cuddled up to my boyfriend and type to him. I’ll ask a channel how I should interact with a situation I’m in and learn how to deal with social situations like that. All of this is understandable to people. Me having gone for years unwilling to go anywhere without my laptop, and now using my smartphone more as a connection to the people elsewhere to type to than everything else combined, is just the same as everyone else just a bit more extreme. The fact that this is how I understand the world, how I figure out what I’m saying, and frequently me feeling like the only people who respect me, doesn’t change that it’s something they can understand.
Fingers are better communicators. They’re just harder to be listened to if you’re in the same location. Sometimes this isn’t used because speech is so much faster, but the fingers give so much more detail, phrase in so much more depth, get tied up so much less. Fingers don’t get lost in their own sentences.
Even those who can always make words with their mouths often find typing a more eloquent and less stressful means of communicating than speech. No one should feel that they have to prove they are “disabled enough” to deserve the supports that will make their lives easier, happier, and more productive. Increasing my ability to communicate with others has filled me with so much hope and joy. I want everyone to feel that way. I want everyone to be heard. Typed voices are a celebration of communication and connection. Listen to them and rejoice. The clicking of the keyboard is the song of life unfolding.
Typed Words, Loud Voices is written by a coalition of writers who type to talk and believe it is neither logical nor fair that some people should be expected to prove themselves every time they have something to say. Read our arguments and hear us. Help us change the world.