“What is it like to make mistakes at your old school,” I ask my daughter. she states, “in class when you made a mistake kids would snicker and laugh. I hate that,” she states emphatically. then I asked her, “What is it like when you make a mistake at your new school?” She states in a matter of fact manner, “ Oh, everyone makes mistakes, but no one laughs. We all make millions of mistakes.”
This conversation struck me because so often when I am working with clients their biggest fear is admitting how hard they struggle and their fear of making a mistake. Many students make extraordinary attempts to hide their deficits. They all have tales of ridicule and shame that often last through adulthood. The fact is that we all make mistakes when communicating, but adults and children with speech and language disorders are acutely aware of their shortfalls. In school if there is not an accepting culture people will tease and/or exclude. Many people with language-based learning disabilities, high functioning autism, Asperger’s syndrome, ADHD, expressive language disorders, receptive language disorders, stutterers, people with articulation and other disfluency disorders over time find ways to deal with the shame attached to their communication. However, without strong support and understanding of themselves and understanding from others, success is difficult. Some become quieter, some never take risks, some fight, some teach themselves dysfunctional strategies to get around the problems, some do less then they are capable of and some simply try to ignore the problem, but all take a serious hit to their self-esteem, which has a life-long impact. Sharing this pain and dismay, is often, regardless of age, a key component of the therapeutic process with a Speech Pathologist.
How do we begin to build accepting communities in school and work, so that all can thrive? Here, is one thought on communicating with acceptance. Non- violent communication: http://www.wikihow.com/Practice-Nonviolent-Communication
I would love to hear what you are doing to build a community of acceptance in your family, school, or work environment.