I was a severe stutterer for the first thirty-five years of my life. Now I don’t stutter anymore because I found some effective treatment, but more about that later. I want to tell you from my experience what it means to stutter or stammer. Stuttering means the same thing as Stammering. Stuttering is used in the US while Stammering is used in most of Europe and other countries.
Now I will describe how it felt to me and what it means to stutter or stammer when I was in an important speaking situation and I knew that the words were not going to come out. I actually became a speech pathologist after graduate school training – but I still stuttered severely.
What it means to stutter or stammer on the job
My first job was as a staff speech pathologist at a well-known rehabilitation hospital. My duties were to provide speech therapy to the stroke patients and brain injured patients that lost their ability to communicate as a result of their injury. So most of these patients had also lost a lot of their ability to understand speech also. So, in my therapy sessions, these people did not pose much of a threat to me and my stuttering because they could hardly understand the words that I was saying much less pick up on my stuttering The perfect job for a stutterer right?
Unfortunately, every Friday we had to orally present our progress notes at a staffing. We all sat around a big mahogany table – the physician in charge of the team; a physical therapist; an occupational therapist; a psychologist; nursing; and the patients family. So they went around the room reading short progress notes one by one until they got to me. I heard, “Speech Therapy” and had a 30-second block trying to get out the first word!
Here’s exactly how I was feeling
I can describe what was going on in my head and heart by an example. It was like there was a freight train bearing down on me as I was stuck on the tracks struggling. As time past, the blaring horn got louder and louder as I could see the engine racing toward me. No kidding. This is what it felt like during those 30 seconds. This was one of my worst stuttering experiences ever
Can you imagine how I felt after I completed my intensive stuttering therapy program at the University of Pittsburgh? I now was able to give all-day workshops to school districts to train them in the same stuttering treatment that helped me. I now have a private practice helping other people who stutter to change their lives just like I did. Click below for more information: