Did I stutter?

Did I stutter?

Yes, all of the time. Every single day … all day. 

Words beginning with Rs, Ts, Ds, and Ws were the most difficult to get out. 

I often dreaded being asked my own name because it began with the letter R. I usually pronounced it with this trick — an added syllable — in order to get it out: ah-ree-go.

Saying things a second time was always MUCH easier, so if I was asked again, I could usually say it correctly: ree-go.

Answering the phone with a simple “hello” was at times so difficult and frustrating that I occasionally hung up the phone AFTER I had removed the handset from its housing.

The turning point.

In third grade, I left our classroom twice a week for 30-minute speech therapy sessions — where I read out-loud into a tape recorder, recited words off of index cards, and listened to myself played back on the recorder. It began to work! Still, it would take years to see real progress.

If you know people with the impediment, exercise patience, and do not finish their sentences — even if they’re struggling. And treat the conversation like you would any conversation.

I used to tell “fellow stutterers” that I too stuttered. But that often made it worse — for both of us, so I stopped.

Is there an upside?

The benefit of stuttering is that it increased my vocabulary. Employing alternative words so as to have a “normal” conversation allowed me to pull more from our English lexicon.

Over the course of my high school years, my stuttering subsided. And nowadays, I rarely stutter.

When I see a kid stuttering, I know that he‘s bright, I know he’ll find a way to manage it, I know he‘ll probably increase his vocabulary, and I know he’ll sing his heart out! Why? Because most stutterers do not stutter when they sing.

Thank God for that!

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