Welcome to my first blog post! I hope you enjoy the read. Having a stammer from the age of four until the age of twenty-two was an experience that I would have rather not had. Even now at the age of forty-one I often contemplate where I would be and what I would be doing now if I had never had this type of speech impediment.
This is because many of the more important decisions I made back then were influenced in a major way by this affliction. As an example, I found school life to be rather distressing as certain people would mock and I was not strong enough either mentally or physically to stand up to them. I remember being extremely eager to leave school at the earliest opportunity to get away from these people. All in all I actually did quite well at school in the final examinations and believe that I could have easily gained a place at university – however I chose to leave the education system at the age of sixteen.
Having a stammer was extremely frustrating and what was also frustrating was the lack of quality therapy available at the time. I had very supportive parents who tried their very best to find a solution via whatever means possible. They were facing an uphill battle though and the main help that was available at the time came via speech and language therapists.
Before I continue I would like to make it clear that I have nothing against speech and language therapists and that I think they do a sterling job. The one’s I met were extremely nice and at times were of help. BUT and this is a VERY BIG BUT – not one of the speech therapists that I went to see had had a stammer. That is not their fault of course and they are truly lucky that they haven’t! But at times, or should I say for the majority of the time I just knew that they had no idea as to what it was like to have a stammer. And how could they? Again this is not their fault. I did, of course, try my best to explain how it was for me living with a stammer and the way in which it impacted on my daily life.
There was one thing that was very clear to myself, my parents and also to the speech and language therapists – only a person that has or has had a stammer can truly understand what life is like living with this form of speech impediment.