Talking to Myself

As I’ve explained a bit previously, in my family we talk to ourselves. Out-loud. A lot.

**Can I just take a moment here and say, I really think both outloud and alot should be one word. They are one thought each. I mean if cannot is one word…Alright. (Another one word) Fine. Have it your way.

It’s that inclination to rant or work something out that leads me to what I now know is called “self-talk.”

I also work through questions and answers when I’m working on a tricky problem, be it in reality or fiction, and there’s always a lot of self-talk going on in the car with my steering wheel. You don’t even want to know what I say to my computer. Marcus used to ask who I was talking to, now he doesn’t bother. So, when Marcus followed suit with his own self-talk, I wasn’t alarmed. And I certainly never thought of it as part of Down syndrome.

Down Syndrome and Self-Talk

However, apparently it is.  I first heard the phrase self-talk in association with Down syndrome last year on World Down Syndrome Day during the speeches within the United Nations. One of the doctors, and forgive me for not remembering and searching for this, spoke about how this self-talk actually helps many of his patients with Down syndrome make and stick to good decisions about their health. The subject came up again more recently and I thought, I should look into that. So after a quick Google search, I found out that a huge amount of people with Down syndrome, like over 80% in adults engage in self-talk.

Here are a few very important points from the Down Syndrome Education On-Line about the subject of Down syndrome and self-talk:

  1. This behavior is not a delusion or hallucination
  2. A person’s age and level of disability do not influence their ability to engage in self-talk
  3. The content of self-talk focused on an event that recently occurred or was expected to occur, a television program or movie, family or friends, completion of an activity, or various complaints
  4.  Self-talk also serves as an outlet for planning or rehearsing an activity, working out a problem, or as a self-dialogue about something interesting or important      

Now, as any good report does, #2 was contradicted within the report to a certain extent. An official UK study on Ds and self-talk led the authors to the conclusion that:

“Self-talk was absent in persons with a calculated mental age below 37 months, while for persons with a mental age above 128 months, self-talk was not currently reported by their parents but had been an observed behaviour in the past.”

This is an interesting analysis because self-talk is a natural phase that children tend to go through as they start combining language and problem-solving. It is not unusual for children to talk to themselves out loud and work through problems or plans. However, most of them grow out of it, so to speak. (Unlike me) thinking dt rs

Self-Talk…Not Hallucinatory

It should be stressed that this sort of self-talk is not a hallucinatory behavior and as I write this, I think it’s telling that the fact that Marcus talks to himself could be misconstrued as a sign of mental illness never occurred to me.  I will admit that sometimes when Marcus is talking to himself, usually not out-loud but his face is moving and I know what he’s doing (but not thinking because he refuses to tell me most of the time), I may worry what other people think about his self-talk.

I’ve always thought of his self-talk as proof that his mind turns and works through issues, but I don’t give other people enough credit to recognize this. I believe that genetics is surely at work here when it comes to Marcus’ frequency in talking to himself. However, I don’t think it’s only in the 21st chromosomes. Or maybe it’s human nature. Or maybe it’s just me.  Let’s see… What do you think? You can tell me…*

This post originally went up in Oct of 2013.  Dr. McGuire wrote the book on wellness in adults with Ds. No, seriously, here’s the book: .I’ve seen him speak several times now, he touches on many helpful points, this one alot. (rebel.) I’ve decided to #TBT this post now because of my own self-talk thoughts coming up.

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