I don’t stutter at a keyboard

bombatchAbout the author:  John Bombatch is currently the sports editor for Greene County Newspapers, a Civitas Media company, which has four newspapers in the Xenia-Fairborn, Ohio area (just east of Dayton). He’s a veteran sports writer who has more than 22 years of experience covering anything from Pee Wee football games to the Indianapolis 500. He lives in Kettering, Ohio U.S.A. with his wife Christy, teen-aged know-it-all son Drew, and two loveable dogs. He’s 52 years old and has stuttered for at least 42 of those.

When I stood up to ask my question, the eyes of nearly 300 journalists from all over the world had turned my way. Being a nervous college student anxious to ask a question to a famous race driver is one thing. But I was nervous about asking a question to that famous race driver …. in front of all those media personalities … as a person who stutters.

But I was on an assignment, and I’d never let my stutter get the best of me. So I shot up my hand.

It was 1986, and I was a college student at The Ohio State University, in Columbus, Ohio.  I’d made the nearly 2 1/2-hour drive over to Indianapolis that day to interview Columbus-area driver Bobby Rahal after his qualification run at the world famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  I was a journalism student who was there on assignment to come back to OSU with a feature story on Mr. Rahal.

And so my hand shot up.

Almost immediately, I felt that similar wrenching in my chest. That tightness and panic stricken “what do you think you are doing?” kind of wrenching fear, where a person who stutters would just as soon crawl under his chair than have to speak.  But I had a job to do, so when I was recognized by a public relations person from the Speedway, she came to me with a polite smile and handed me the microphone so that I could ask my question.

The eyes of every major motorsports media journalist on the planet, and Bobby Rahal himself, turned my way as I stood up to ask my question. I was shaking so much, I nearly dropped the microphone. A momentary screech of feedback somehow caused me to cower into an even worse state of fear than I’d already managed to reach.

And then I spoke.

To be honest, I have no idea what question I was going to ask Bobby.  How’d you decide on a car set-up for your run? Had you expected to qualify higher than fourth in the 33-car field? What’s your favorite breakfast cereal? I have no idea. Nobody knows.

They don’t know, because when I tried to speak …….?  Nothing. Not even a block…nothing at all…. came out.

After several attempts, I lowered my head, handed the mic back to the same lady (she was now trying her best to smile, but I could tell that she was dying a little bit along with me), and I sat down.

If I could’ve crawled under my chair, I would have.

Instead, I just sat through the rest of the 10-minute press conference feeling ashamed.

And then I felt angry.

‘You’ve come all this way, to do an interview with one of the area’s best race drivers, and THIS is what you do instead?’

I mentally beat myself up over what had transpired, and then I decided that I’d approach Mr. Rahal after his press conference and try to at least explain what had happened.

So, when the final question had been asked, and as Bobby and his team manager got up to leave, I weaved my way through the throng of reporters and found myself in between the press conference door and their path to it.

“Mr. Rahal, I-I’m s…  I’m s-s-s-s………um, I stutter. I’m doing a story for The Lantern n-n-newspaper at Ohio State, and I need to interview you, if you don’t mind.

“I d-don’t stutter at a k-keyboard,” I told him.

That drew a hearty chuckle from Rahal, his manager and everyone within ear shot of me.  And Rahal said that it took a lot of guts for me to even try.

(The eventual 1986 Indy 500 winner was telling me that I had a lot of guts. I thought that was astonishing in its own right.)

He invited me back to his team mobile home, and we did almost a 45-minute interview there.  Maybe if I hadn’t stuttered, the interview would’ve been shorter, who knows? But what I do know is that I didn’t let my stuttering stop me from doing my job, and more importantly, from ruling my life.

Stuttering is embarrassing.  But it shouldn’t be something to determine what you can or can’t do in your life.  I still get the occasional high school student who will get a wry know-it-all expression on his face when I’m interviewing him for a story. It’s as if he suddenly feels he’s better than me.

I just smile, explain to him that I happen to stutter. And I explain to him that when I sit down to write the article, “I never stutter on a keyboard.”

773 total views, 2 views today

Comments

I don’t stutter at a keyboard — 56 Comments

  1. Great piece, John. You showed how self determination can help us overcome the limits that we sometimes let stuttering place on us. You also showed the value of humor – it helps put everyone at ease.
    And you showed that stuttering can be an advantage, if we allow ourselves to think like that. Great contribution. Thanks so much for sharing.
    Pam

    • Thanks Pam. I enjoyed your presentation as well. I think it would be more difficult to do a stuttering presentation with video than through writing. You have a lot more courage than I’ll probably ever have! Nice job!

  2. Totally agree. Unfortunately, as children we believed adults who said- you should not volunteer for speech xontest because you stammer…it takes some effort to give up those unconscious assumptions…congrats on stepping out…

    • Thank you, Satyendra. I think when people told me that I couldn’t do something, it only made me more determined to prove them wrong. I guess I’m stubborn that way. I hope you can step out as well! All the best!

  3. Hi John. My name is Shannon, I am studying to become a speech pathologist, and I really loved the story you posted. I don’t stutter myself, but I often find myself in a similar position, where I become speechless or shy in a moment of stress and later wish I had the courage to speak up like you did. What do you find to be the most difficult part of conversing with others, and how do you overcome it? Thank you again for your entry. It was very inspiring and I really enjoyed hearing your story.

    • Hi Shannon. I’m a journalist, so I’m not wealthy. And so I’ve kind of used public speaking (primarily in meetings or while doing my newspaper story interviews) as my form of speech therapy.
      My wife has some health issues, and as a result, I can’t afford to go to Speech Therapy at this time.
      But what I’m learning is that I’m more adept at speaking as a chairman of a meeting, or in front of a classroom of inquisitive people, than I am speaking 1-on-1 with someone. I guess I’m more self-conscious about my speech when I’m talking to just one person. In the group setting, my focus seems to be the topic itself. Weird, huh?
      Thanks for the kind words!

      • Hello!
        I very much enjoyed your story, thank you for sharing! I’m both surprised and not surprised, because of your own reasoning, that you have more trouble speaking one on one than to a large group of people. Do you think it is similar to your story that when you’re in front of a group you’re working; as in working the group and working as in it’s your job? I really appreciate that you shared that with us! I know it seems trite but I do believe that we grow stronger/most from all of our struggles and difficulties, thank you for sharing your strengths.

  4. Thank you very much for sharing your story. I am currently studying to be a speech-language pathologist, and I am enrolled in a stuttering course. I admire your courage to go up to Mr. Rahal personally after the conference to interview him. Although I do not stutter, I also find myself feeling very nervous in situations like this, and I often stumble over my words at times. I find that I am able to relax, take a deep breath, and control my speaking better when I acknowledge that I am a bit nervous. As a person who stutters, do you find it easier to speak once you acknowledge your stutter to the person you are conversing with?

  5. John, thank you so much for sharing your inspirational story. I find it very admirable that you had the courage to not only attempt to ask a question in front of a crowded room, but to continue to pursue him after the fact. I noticed that you went from being ashamed to angry and I was just curious if channeling that anger helps you overcome your stutter in these types of situations? Also, do you find that telling people outright that you have a stutter is helpful to you since it would essentially take some of the pressure off or do you just let your speech progress naturally and let people discover it if it does indeed happen? Thanks again for sharing your story!

    • Hi Katie.
      I had driven nearly two hours to get my story interview. I guess I knew I had to come back to OSU with something! That’s what gave me the determination to go ahead and try and do the interview anyhow.
      Usually, when I get angry or start mentally beating myself up over a bad speaking day, the situation only seems to get worse. Almost a snowball effect.
      But I have found that, when I tell the listener that I stutter, it does seem to help me along. It’s as if I’ve let the cat out of the bag, and there’s no longer anything to be embarassed about.
      I’m glad you enjoyed the story,too!

  6. I’m inspired! Thank you John for sharing your story. I can only imagine how nerve racking it was to stand up in front of a room full of reporters to ask that question. It takes a lot of courage to do what you did, and what a fantastic outcome! While I do not stutter myself, I am studying to become a speech language pathologist and taking a fluency course with a focus on stuttering. The title of your article is what caught my attention. How often do you find that you need to clarify that you do not stutter when using other forms of communication, such as written word? And going along with that, what would you say is the most misunderstood fact about stuttering that you have run into in your career as a sports journalist?
    Respectfully,
    Shannon

    • Hi Shannon. On those occasions when I’m doing a journalism interview, and the person I’m speaking to starts to give me confused and uncomfortable looks … as if they’re not sure exactly why I’m talking this way … that’s when I assure them that I’m merely stuttering, and that I never stutter at a keyboard. It breaks the ice. Sets the listener at ease, and enables us to continue on with the interview.
      Most understood fact? Hmmm…. I’ve found that the more rushed I am in speaking to someone (like when I coach is running off the field and into the locker room, and it’s the only chance I have to get his/her comments) it’s those moments where I have my most difficulty.
      The more I’m in a hurry to speak and blurt out my questions, the more I’ll stutter. I guess I rush my rate of speech, and that just causes trouble.

  7. John, thank you for sharing. I am very impressed that while you stuttered for over 40 years you choose a career that would involve speaking front of well known sports personalities and various media professionals, speaking publicly so your information could be gathered, and speaking within a world where time and pressure are present. How did you get the courage to choose this type of work? Where did the drive come from to take further steps so you could complete your interviews? What supports do you use to make your interviews successful? Thank you for your courage and drive we could all learn from them!

    • I’m a sports nut, I guess, Allegra. They say “Write what you know,” and I have a pretty good knowledge of sports. I guess that’s how I chose my career path.
      I have had experience in covering stuffy board meetings, or the occasional house fire, but it’s just not the same. No scoreboard. No coach. No winners.
      The drive probably comes from my upbringing. I had kind of a rough childhood, and I seemed to thrive when the pressure was on the most. I do my best writing when I’m under a tight deadline.
      I don’t really have any supports for my interviews. I go in with an idea of what information I want to get, ask the questions I need to ask, then scamper back to the newsroom or a remote location with a good wireless signal, and write my story.
      I wrote the story, because I wanted to encourage others to follow their own dreams. Don’t let stuttering dominate the way you live!

  8. John, your courage is inspiring. Thank you for sharing your story. We all go through such moments, even as a person who does not stutter, I often cannot build up the courage to present to a big crowd. What type of advise or suggestions could you provide to your listeners so they are sure to make you feel completely comfortable as Mr. Rahal did during your 45 minute interview?

    • Thanks jmendonc for your message.
      I tell my interviewee that I stutter up front, before we even begin the interview. That enables them to know what’s coming, and it enables me to feel more comfortable when I DO stutter.
      I think Mr. Rahal was simply amazed that I even bothered to drive out to Indianapolis to come talk to him! He was just making his name in the Indycar racing circuit, and I’m not sure that he was used to having someone chase him down for an interview like that.
      Whatever it was … whether it was my willingness to drive out to see him, or his thoughts about this college kid who was willing to do an interview, even though he had great difficulties in speaking … he seemed to appreciate my drive to get the story done.
      When I interviewed for newspaper jobs, I’d detect that the employer would feel uncomfortable about my stuttering. They’d be concerned that it would keep me from doing my job.
      So I’d have them send me out on an assignment for free, just to let me prove to them what I could do.
      Nobody ever actually did that, but I would have done it if they’d have asked me to do it. I know my stuff. I know I can write. And I know I can meet a tight deadline.
      I’m glad I’m even able to inspire non-stutterers, too! Thanks for the kind words.

  9. Thank you very much for sharing your story. I am currently studying to be a speech-language pathologist, and I am enrolled in a stuttering course. I admire your courage to go up to Mr. Rahal personally after the conference to interview him. Although I do not stutter, I also find myself feeling very nervous in situations like this, and I often stumble over my words at times. I find that I am able to relax, take a deep breath, and control my speaking better when I acknowledge that I am a bit nervous. As a person who stutters, do you find it easier to speak once you acknowledge your stutter to the person you are conversing with?

  10. Dear John,

    I’m currently in a graduate program to become an SLP. I loved reading your story and seeing how great of an advocate you are for yourself. I was very intrigued by your story, and I think the witty comment you made about not stuttering on a keyboard was perfect! Your story was inspiring to read, I admire your confidence and determination. Thank you for sharing!

    Brynn

  11. Hi John,
    As a student working with a client who has reflected on how difficult she finds daily interactions to be because of her cluttering, I am excited to share with her your story on persevering and looking at the big picture – you wanted to do something and you went out and did it. I would like to ask you how you walked yourself through that mental fight over what transpired at the interview. How could I provide support for someone who is unable to overcome those mental blocks and in turn avoids conversation? I would love to hear any suggestions as to how I could guide someone or be their support system for when they are in a situation similar to yours. Thank you very much for sharing your story!

    Michelle

  12. Hi John, I love your perseverance, courage, and ability to take initiative — something we seem to see less and less of. I will show this story to all three of my sons who are young adults (one who stutters). Inspiring — thanks for sharing!

    Best,
    Dori Lenz Holte

  13. Hi John,

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I was wondering, how do you have such a positive attitude? Did you have a strong support system growing up? My nephew is 3 and a half and he’s been stuttering for almost 6 months. I’m hoping that he can have a positive attitude in regards to his stuttering if he does indeed continue to stutter.

  14. Hi John,
    Your bio said that you’ve been stuttering since you were 10. I was wondering, have you ever received any speech therapy? If so, at what age and for how long? Thank you!

  15. Your article is very motivating. I find myself in similar situations where I become nervous and let it get the best of me. You said you have been stuttering for 42 years. Have you ever received speech therapy? If so, have you found that it has helped you accomplish the positive attitude that you have now about stuttering?

  16. John,
    Thank you so much for sharing your story, it was very inspiring. I think your story shows us all, no matter if we stutter or not, to have the courage to face fears and continue on, even when we may feel defeated.

    I loved the witty comment you made about your stutter- do you often make such comments regarding your stutter and/or make playful jokes about it? Why or why not?

    Once again, thank you for sharing. I will definitely keep this story in mind while completing my graduate degree to become a SLP.

    All the best,
    Samantha
    (Graduate Student)

  17. John,
    Thank you so much for sharing your story with the world! As a graduate student working to obtain my Master’s degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders, I appreciated hearing a story such as yours from the perspective of someone who stutters. I think it is awesome that you tell your interviewees that “I don’t stutter on a keyboard.” and that it helps break the ice when conversing with others. Are there any other fluency controls or “tricks” that you use to help you when communicating with others? If so, what are they and how do they help monitor your fluency?

    Thank you again for sharing your inspiring story!
    -Kelly

  18. Hi John,

    Thank you for sharing your story. It is very inspirational. I am a speech-language pathology graduate student and reading through your comments I am fascinated by your determination and resourcefulness. Even though you were not able to receive much of speech-language therapy, you were able to identify and approach your triggers and alleviators.

    Thank you again!

  19. Hi John,

    Like many others who have commented, I also am a speech-language pathology graduate student. I love reading about different experiences and how each person reacts different. I admire you for getting rid of your pride and going back to ask Mr. Rahal for an interview and educating him on your stutter. I would find that extremely difficult. I know you stated in an above comment that you were not currently in speech therapy but I am sure you have done a lot of research on the topic. Have you ever tried voluntarily stuttering in a conversation?

    Thank you,
    Emily

  20. John,

    Thank you for your story and I believe it to be very inspiring. I am currently a graduate student of speech language pathology and I am taking a course in stuttering. I thought it was very brave of you to stand up the second time and say to the race car driver that you stutter. I have a question for you: what advise would give other individuals who stutter and are placed in a high pressure situation like you were? What strategies would you give them to help them overcome the anxiety and stress?
    Thank you!
    Safa

  21. Hi John,
    Thank you for sharing your story. It is really inspiring and healthy for people to hear that they should not create limits for themselves, or adopt the limitations of others.
    -Robyn

  22. Hi John!
    Thank you for sharing your story. It was very moving. I like the fact that you did not and have not allowed stuttering to rule over you. You have accepted the fact that you do stutter, but it is just one part of who you are as a person. I am in graduate school pursuing a degree in speech-language pathology. Your story has inspired me and confirmed that I am going into the right field. What advise would you give to an up and coming speech therapist like myself? Also, I noticed you have been stuttering since you were ten. What advice would you give to a parent with a child who stutters?

    Thanks,
    Angela

  23. John,

    You’re story is inspirational! Thank you for your honesty and sharing your story with us. I can tell you’re a writer, your piece is written beautifully. I really enjoyed reading about your experience. You must be pretty self-confident to be in a field where you must interview people in some high anxiety situations. I’m not a person who stutters but I would be terrified to speak in public like you do probably all the time. This is a related question to one that was asked earlier, but do you think if you had the time and money to receive therapy you would seek it out? So basically, do you believe speech therapy would be beneficial to you or have you figured out your own strategies that work well for you? Thank you again for posting! It was a great read.

    Laura

  24. Hello John. I am studying to become a speech pathologist; I really enjoyed your paper. What do you find to be the most difficult part of conversing with others? Are there specific strategies that you use to overcome your stutter? Also- do you have any advice for future speech-language pathologist? Thank you! Amanda

  25. Hi John,

    Thanks for your story. It was refreshing to hear your sense of humor and I respect your attitude when it comes to your stutter. We are all given different burdens in our lives, but limitations are something that we are in control of, and I’m glad you didn’t let your stutter limit you from doing your job. What an amazing story to tell anyone who doesn’t believe they are capable of something great. You proved them wrong!

    Good luck on your journey!
    -Jillian Krummel

  26. Hi John,

    What an amazing, inspirational story! I am a graduate student in speech-language pathology and for a project in my fluency class, we had to pseudostutter in public, which was not the easiest to do even one time. I cannot imagine how intimidating it must be to stutter with on a daily basis especially in a career that requires a great amount of communication, and for that, I admire your confidence and courage. Although you initially felt embarrassed about stuttering when you were given the microphone, I see that experience as one that ended up benefiting you in the long run. Thank you for sharing your story along with your great sense humor, it was enlightening!

    Allie

  27. I enjoyed reading your story! I admire your confidence for working in a job that requires a lot of interaction with others. It is great to hear stories about a PWS that is not letting the stutter hold them back. Do you find that most of the people you interview are comfortable with your stuttering? I saw that you mentioned an occasional high school student might act awkward, but what about with older people? Did you ever consider not being a journalist because of your stutter? Thanks in advance! -Ashley

  28. John, this was a great and inspiring story. Your positive outlook as a person who stutters is admiring. How do you keep your confidence and drive when some of the people you interview give you cynical looks when you stutter?

  29. John,

    Thank you for sharing your story. I really enjoyed it! I am a graduate student studying to be a speech-language pathologist at Western Carolina University. I am currently taking a fluency class, and we often talk about the importance of addressing the emotions and feelings behind stuttering as well as the actual stutter. As I read about the overwhelming fear you experienced before attempting to ask your question, it reminded me of the discussions we often have in class. In your opinion, is overcoming the fear and other related emotions as important in overcoming stuttering as the controls a therapist might teach?

    Thank you!
    Ashley Griffith

  30. John,

    First I would like to thank you for sharing your inspiring story. It takes a great deal of courage to go up to anyone, especially a famous race car driver and tell them you stutter. You show us all that you should never let stuttering defeat you or let you think you can’t do something. Have you developed any other strategies to overcome this over the years? Also, do you find that making a joke such as “I never stutter on a keyboard” proves to be a useful strategy to initiate a conversation?

    Alyssa

  31. John,

    Thank you so much for sharing your inspiring story. I am a speech-language pathology graduate student and am currently taking a course on stuttering. In class we discuss how people who stutter feel a loss of control when trying to speak. I was curious if you felt a loss of control when you stood up in front of the crowd and nothing came out, not even a block? If you did feel a loss of control over speaking, could you please explain what that felt like?
    As a person who doesn’t stutter, I have a very hard time speaking in public. I cannot even begin to understand how much courage it must take to speak in public as a person who stutters. I am very thankful you shared your story and I hope many others will learn the confidence that you show in this story.

  32. John,
    This was such an inspiring story! As a graduate student and future clinician, I really enjoyed seeing your perspective of a challenging event, and I was inspired by your courage to move past it and accomplish your goals. In my fluency class, we have learned that sometimes being a person who stutters is part of a client’s identity, or that stuttering a special gift he or she has been given for some greater reason. Do you feel that way? You mentioned that you sometimes explain to someone you are interviewing that you happen to stutter. Do you incorporate the identity of “person who stutters” into your self-concept, or do you feel that it is merely something that happens but not a core part of who you are?
    Thank you again for your inspiration and encouragement!
    Claire Richards

  33. Hello John,
    The amount of courage you displayed that day is amazing. After your experience at the press conference, I do not know too many people who would then have the courage to talk to the person face to face. I really enjoyed the fact that you added humor to your stutter. “I don’t stutter at a keyboard” can really lighten the mood and put people at ease. I feel humor is something important that I can use, as a future speech language pathologist, with clients. The whole point of your story is that you did not let your stuttering stop you from doing your job, and more importantly, from ruling your life. I think this is a very important lesson to take away.

    Best Wishes,
    Leslie

  34. Hi John,

    Great piece! It was so inspiring to read about you facing your fears head on and finding humor in the moment. I’ve read about many other people who stutter who have struggled to find that courage within themselves for long periods of their lives. While I recognize that each person will have a different experience, I wondered if you experienced similar feelings or if you have always had the drive to pursue your dreams and not let your stutter hold you back?

    Thanks!
    Jocelyn

  35. Hi John!

    I am a graduate student studying speech-language pathology and am currently in a fluency disorders class. If this story isn’t inspiring, I don’t know what is! Thank you so much for sharing. I love reading different stories from PWS. It’s a great way to gain more insight and understand the different ways PWS handle situations. You reached out of your comfort zone and look what it got you, a successful interview! I bet no other reporter in that room got the information you received. Your story proves that PWS can be successful. I think it’s amazing you interact with people every day and don’t let stuttering control your life. I am curious; do you think the situation would have been different if you had a prepared question? Thank you for sharing your story. I think it will be truly encouraging for PWS to read.

    Nicole

  36. John,
    Thank you so much for sharing this story. I am a graduate student studying to become an SLP and I know that if I am ever treating a teenager who stutters, I will likely be pulling up your story for them to read. I am learning, in my class on fluency, that one of the hardest things for a person seeking treatment to realize is that there are others out there like them. I think sharing your story would show them that they, too, could overcome their stutter by embracing it in the same way that you did. It sounds like having a stutter got you an amazing 45 minute interview whereas every other reporter only got one question, if that!

  37. John,

    Thank you for sharing your story. I found it to be inspiring and something that I could apply to my own life when I am feeling nervous or shy about going out for an opportunity. If you were to be interviewed, would you prefer that it takes place face to face, or through online communication? Thank you again!

  38. John,
    Thank you so much for sharing. Do you find those you interview are accepting of your stutter? I know these may be personal questions, but I was wondering what techniques work best for you when you begin to feel the nerves rising? I am a graduate student for speech pathology and am interested in as much guidance as I can receive. Thank you!

    Melissa

  39. John,
    I enjoyed your story. You have a way with words, seems that you have found a unique way to use humor. Some of what you wrote reminded me of my own father, who is a man who stutters. From what I’ve seen, he is not a person who holds back from speaking. He is quite a writer as well, and often uses humor when he speaks in public. Do you feel the humor has helped you when speaking in a crowd to decrease any anxiety or tension? Thank you for your story and helpful responses!

    Cammi

  40. John,

    Your story is truly inspiring! You show people through your story that if you want something you don’t let anything stop you.

    I am a graduate student studying speech pathology and I was wondering if your stutter has changed over the years? Do you find that the more open you are about it in an interview the less likely you will stutter?

    Thank you for sharing your story!
    Catherine

  41. John, thank you for this inspiring story! Your courage and insight is extremely admirable. It takes a great amount of courage to ask an interview question to someone famous as it is, and the way you persevered takes even more. Are there any strategies you use in situations such as the interview? I truly enjoyed your story and your positive attitude toward pursuing your dreams and accomplishing what you set out to do, and even more!

    Thanks again!
    Rachel

  42. Hi John,

    I really enjoyed your description of the feelings leading up to asking your question in the press conference. I so admire your tenacity to go after the interview and not let stuttering keep you from completing your assignment. Your story is inspiring for both PWS and fluent speakers because it shows that you were able to work with your stutter to achieve your goal.

    Thanks,
    Laura

  43. Thanks for sharing John! This was a great piece. As a former journalist myself I was always nervous asking questions at press conferences, and for people much less well-known than Bobby Rahal. I admire your bravery and your refusal to let stuttering get in the way of your dreams. I am a grad student studying speech-language pathology and I hope to share your inspiring story with my future clients as an example of chasing after any dreams they may have.

  44. Your story made me smile. I am a second year Graduate student in speech language pathology. I loved the comment at the end that stated, “Stuttering is embarrassing. But it shouldn’t be something to determine what you can or can’t do in your life.” You hit it right on the head. Stuttering is just a part of you but it is not the entire you. Way to go! I do have a couple of questions though.
    1- how much speech therapy had you had before this event?
    2- do you feel that therapy aided you in having this great attitude and tenacity about stuttering? Thanks again for a great story!

  45. Hi John,

    Thank you so much for sharing your perspective. As a graduate student in speech-language pathology, having first hand experiences to relate to what we are learning about is always such an invaluable tool. They also help to personify the courage of not letting a disorder control your life. Presenting stories of success like yours to clients who stutter can only encourage their own road to acceptance.

    I was curious, did you ever receive therapy services for your stuttering as a child? How did your parents and friends respond to your stuttering disfluencies? I ask because you seem to have a healthy and positive reaction to your disorder, and I was wondering if your environment helped to solidify that at all?

    Thanks again for your unique perspective.

    Nicole Q.

  46. I enjoyed your paper. Thank you for sharing. You are very inspiring and have a great sense of humor. I admire your courage to not let stuttering inhibit you from being a journalist and achieving your goals. Thanks for being a great example to us all.

  47. Hi John,
    I appreciate how you used the emotion of anger and turned it into determination that stuttering would not rule your life. Your story conveyed a sense of self-empowerment in that you understood that you deserved to ask your question and you deserved to do your job, not hindered by your stutter. I love your statement that “Stuttering is embarrassing. But it shouldn’t be something to determine what you can or can’t do in your life.” Your attitude is inspiring.

  48. John,

    One of the lines in your story really impacted me. You described your feeling of anxiety as a “what do you think you are doing?” kind of fear. This is something that I have never experienced but it really hit me to read it. It is so inspiring that these experiences have taken you to where you are in your career.

    Your passion to accomplish what you had set out to do was extremely motivating. Although you felt anger, you used humor to break the tension and achieve exactly what you set out to do and more. I am currently in graduate school for speech pathology, and I hope that when I work with clients in my career, I will be able to share experiences with them like the one you had.

    Thank you for sharing your story!
    Kylie