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Stuttering And Its Effects
By Steve Hill
Stuttering and stammering can effect people in many different ways. Some people who stutter fear certain words beginning with certain letters and will try and avoid these words or will think of an alternative word to say. When I had a stutter or as I called it "stammer I found words beginning with "b especially hard to say. I also found d,g,k,p and v words difficult. In time I became an expert at word avoidance or substitution.
The affects at school though were that I was always afraid that I would be asked to read out aloud from a book. When reading you have to read what is written and this is where the stammer/stutter would be at it's worse. Fluent people are unable to comprehend the humiliation and embarrassment one feels when you stutter in front of a number of people as in the above example at school. Stuttering made my school life quite traumatic.
One of the most difficult tasks is when asked to make a presentation in front of people, whether at school, college or work. It is not just the day that is hard, it is the days leading up, where the worry and fear is difficult to control. Stuttering and the presentation would always be on my mind. I had a client who stated on the first day that the reason he was attending my speech course was because he wanted to be able to give his daughter away at her wedding. I asked him when the wedding was to be held expecting it to be in a few months time. He replied that she was only fifteen! This is how stuttering is able to get a grip on your life.
Socialising and building relationships with people from the opposite sex also has its hazards. Ordering food and drink can be difficult. On a personal front when trying to purchase for example a bottle of beer, I would nearly always stutter. My friends were good to me though and would usually order my drinks for me. I could not expect my colleagues from work to do the same and would try and avoid evenings out with them.
I always wanted to have a girlfriend, however this involves meeting her parents and friends, lots of socialising, phone calls including the initial phone call. Stuttering would be more prevalent on the phone than in any other situation for myself. This for me would take courage and it was not until I was eighteen that I went on my first date. I took a young lady to a public house and to say I was nervous was an understatement, mainly it has to be said about stuttering in front of her. When entering the pub I stated that I needed to go to the toilet and asked if she would order the drinks including a diet coke for myself. I did not need the toilet; I just did not want to order the drinks. I later explained to her about the stutter I had and she was surprisingly fine about it.
At the age of twenty-two I had been dating a young lady for a couple of years and she started talking about marriage. Fear of stuttering as usual held me back and I could not go through with the wedding. I felt it was a certainty that I would stutter when saying the vows and making the speech. A few months later she left me. This was the final straw I was now desperate to overcome the stutter.
Gaining employment and working your way up the career ladder can prove difficult for somebody who has a stutter. Most people stutter more when under pressure, therefore interviews can be very stressful. On a personal level it took a number of months to find my first position in employment. I always felt that stuttering held me back and that my full potential in my career and on a personal level could not be reached.
About The Author
Stephen Hill runs one to one speech courses and also offers a self-help dvd. To receive a free information pack you can visit his website at: http://www.stammering-therapy.com.