I have access to speech at least 85% of the time, but that doesn’t mean that during those times I am as verbal as a person without autism. Here are some examples of having access to speech while having speech trouble:
I have access to automatic speech, but not conscious speech.
For example I might see a dog and say, “Puppy!”, but by the time I’ve gone through I want to pat the dog, to pat the dog you have to ask the owner, the owner is over there, I should say please, I want to say to the person over there “Can I pet your dog please?” I can’t figure out how to get the words to come out of my mouth.
I have access to prompted speech, but not unprompted speech.
For example, if you ask me what book I am reading, I might be able to tell you it’s Bridge to Terabithia, and it’s good, but if I see you sitting across the room and want to tell you what I’m reading about I will not be able to initiate the conversation.
I have access to planned out speech, but not spontaneous speech.
I have to memorize what I’m going to say and how my mouth is going to move to say it, before I say it.
I have access to speech but it’s mentally exhausting.
I have access to speech but it’s physically exhausting.
I have access to speech but it’s physically painful.
I have access to speech but I have to attempt talking many times before the words actually come out of my mouth.
I have access to speech, but only scripted speech.
This can be because I don’t have access to new words, or because I don’t have time to create new words and log them and run them through filters (not even necessarily filters of “is this polite” but filters of “is this actually true”- it’s like checking your work in math) while carrying on a conversation, or because other people’s words are more comfortable then my own.
Most of what I say is a patchwork quilt of scripts pulled out of the scrap bag of my brain and hemmed together.
Scripted speech isn’t necessarily bad or noncommunicative, and there are different levels of scriptedness from “kneejerk response” (“How are you? Fine”) to “looking for scripts that fit what I’m trying to say and splicing them together”. (I sometimes create scripts in advance specially for specific conversations with specific people. That is definitely not noncommunicative.)
I have access to speech, but not the words I want to say.
“Make no because the thing is curtaining” I say, unable to do grammar entirely, hoping someone will turn off the light. When I looked for pictures of light in my brain, I found a picture of light filtering through curtains, and “make no” means “make not exist”. Communicative, but damn hard to understand.
A side note: it is cruel to make someone in this state use proper grammar or polite phrasing before you acknowledge what they have said.
I have access to speech, but not communication.
This can contain some or none of things above, and it’s hard to talk well about. What I can say is:
-A lot of it was taught to me by therapy
-For a long time, and still now sometimes, people labled uncommunication as real communication and real communication as uncommunication
-Just because someone does things that look communicative that aren’t, doesn’t mean they don’t do things that are communicative, and doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to figure out how they communicate, and listen.