Are you talking every day now? Do you sign much at all anymore?

Yes, I speak daily, but how much I speak depends on the day. There are weeks where talking comes easy (especially in my house) & I mostly speak all day long. But there are days where I have to really work hard to get going, so I’ll get lazy & sign 20-50% of the time. I speak louder & best in my home, but no matter where I am, I need to “warm up,” so the 1st few things I say are harder to get out, tend to be quite delayed, & are not as clear. However, if I lay back, or get a bigger breath, I clear up.

My music therapist is trying to strengthen my “normal” speaking voice, so I use it instead of my “forced” voice. So, I have been asked to sign instead of force myself to talk, but to speak as much as possible in my “natural” voice. I don’t know if I do this as well as I should though. I don’t really stop like my therapist wants, cuz I love talking! (My favorite thing to do is if my kids play the “quiet game”, I like to make noise & be the 1st one out, just cuz I can! Lol). But if I say something, & am asked to repeat it, since I tend to force things if I have to repeat things, I sign it, usually, so I don’t strain my voice. When I was briefly in Utah for the 4th of July, my father-in-law (who last saw me in like Feb.) commented how while I speak less in quantity, the quality I’m speaking is amazingly different!

The more I work on strengthening my natural voice, the clearer I get. I now can usually speak in the car (well, I get lazy w/mk, & sign more to him), & I feel confident enough to speak around friends, strangers, & acquaintances, since most understand me (especially if I’m in my home), & if I’m not understood, I’ve become quite confident in my writing abilities! The key to understanding me is to focus on what I mean & the overall statement, rather than figuring out every word as I am saying it, cuz some words are clear, while others are not, so if u focus on those few words u understood, u can usually get the idea!

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