It is OK to stutter


Patrick CampbellAbout the author:  
I am Patrick Campbell, a 22 year old person who stutters studying medicine at the Hull York Medical School in England. I also have an undergraduate degree in genetics. I was previously a covert stutter but with the help of speech therapy and the stuttering community over the past three years I have became a lot more accepting of my stutter. I have recently became a trustee for the British Stammering Association.

Patrick talks about how attending a European Youth meeting for young people who stutter started him on a journey from covert to overt. Specifically, he describes how the concept that “it is Ok to stutter” has empowered him to make positive changes in his life.

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Comments

It is OK to stutter — 61 Comments

  1. Patrick,
    What a great message. You are learning at a young age to empower yourself with positive thinking and getting rid of the shame that can keep us caged up, as you alluded to in your message. I am so glad you chose to do a video message. You came across so sincere and passionate. It is so much easier to be OK with stuttering than try to expend so much energy trying to hide it. I have 30 years of covert experience to back that up.
    Thanks for this great contribution.
    Pam

    • Thanks Pam. I agree completely agree, being covert is a real mental challenge each day. If we are Ok with stuttering we can let go of that challenge and make life so much easier.

  2. I really like your bold and positive message, Patrick.

    I think a lot of people who stutter will be able to relate to the idea of gradually coming to terms with stuttering over a period of time and attempts to bring more and more stuttering out into the open. This is not an easy task by any means, but rewarding if one has the courage to stay the course. Becoming ok with stuttering by becoming more, not less, dysfluent on the surface – how paradoxical.

    Best wishes,
    Allan

  3. Patrick,

    I truly commend you on your amazing message and the courage you put forth to overtly stutter. I am currently a student in speech pathology and I am very eager to learn all that I can within the field! I am so impressed by your dedication to education, as I see you are in medical school! Knowing how grueling the demands of school can be, did you ever feel that stuttering was an obstacle that may have hindered or slowed your success in education? Additionally, how were you able to successfully get over the fear of public speaking, did you use any techniques that were taught to you during speech therapy? If so, what specific techniques were used? Also, do you feel more comfortable overtly stuttering during times of public speaking?

    Thank you again for sharing your story, and I know you will succeed with your future endeavors.

    Respectfully,
    Jessica Barron

    • Thank you for your lovely words Jessica. In regards to stuttering and medicine… I certainly didn’t choose the easiest path. Having said that, I have found my own opinion of stuttering and consequently how I act around it (i.e. by trying to hide it through substituation of words and avoidance of situations) has been a much greater hindrance than the actual speech impediment. I have never had a single negative comment from patients and Doctors when I have been open about it but being closed off, acting like it isn’t there has caused issues. The whole openness and diversity in the workplace thing means if someone was to mention it as a negative they would probably be in a lot more trouble than me. One practical aspect, though, is timing of examinations. We sometimes have clinical scenarios in a set time frame (e.g. 5 mins) despite my complaints these have remained for myself. It is completely manageable(I guesstimate I would take up 30 seconds of that time stuttering) but I still feel slightly unfair.

      For getting over the fear of public speaking, i recommend doing public speaking. I go to toastmasters (a public speaking club) and I now try to speak up whenever I can basically. I now sometimes feel more confident stuttering in front of a large audience than new people as (this is tricky to explain) I feel it is my time to speak when I am on stage and everyone can just sit down and listen but in conversations this rule does not apply and they don’t have to listen to me.

      I really liked voluntary stuttering and advertising. I know they aren’t exactly speech techniques but they have helped me deal with my stutter greatly. I also attempt pull-outs in block and try to relax as best I can in moments of stuttering but these are off the cuff and not rigorously or perhaps even correctly done. I may look to use more speech techniques to improve fluency in the future but at the moment I believe I would just use them as a crutch to hide my stuttering again.

      Thanks for the great questions. I enjoyed attempting to answer them.

      Patrick

  4. Patrick,
    First off, I commend you for making the shift from being a covert stutterer to one that has embraced the notion that “it is ok to stutter.” Surely that was no easy task. I can’t say that I know what it is like to stutter but there seems to be a large and growing consensus among the stuttering community toward this forward thinking ideology. This outlook also appears to be successful in diminishing the stigma many people perceive. I am an undergraduate student working toward becoming a speech therapist, listening to the perspective of leading professionals in the field and individuals like yourself are a valuable resource to help educate aspiring students like me. With that said, thank you very much for sharing your story. I wonder, what has been the biggest challenge for you now, as an overt stutterer and what changes have you observed in your use of fluency strategies since?
    Best,
    Valerie

    • Valerie,

      Thank you. Your comments as very true. As a medical student, I always find patients the best learning material.

      “He who studies medicine (speech and language pathology!) without books sails an uncharted sea, but he who studies medicine (Speech and language pathology!) without patients does not go to sea at all.”

      I think this movement of stuttering pride (as mentioned in Grant’s excellent article) is empowering stutters to move past their speech as an obstacle in life and see it more as a different way of experiencing communication – Akin to Deaf culture in my opinion, which has been so helpful for the deaf community.

      A very insightful question. The biggest challenge for me now.. hmmm. I have to be honest I still struggle to be open and covert tendencies creep back in certain situations, especially where I think being ‘a man’ is important. For instance, when taking a girl on a date or being part of a football team. I would really like to be cool about my stutter in these situations but I find it a real challenge: old thinking patterns die hard I guess. I also struggle to fully tell people what stuttering means to me as I did in this video.

      I find myself using less and less fluency strategies. The only fluency like strategy I use is ‘in block pull outs’ but you could say the stutter is out by then so it isn’t a fluency strategy. In the past, I have tried a few fluency based strategies: costal breathing, delayed auditory feedback and prolongations. However, to me at the moment, these go against the maxim of acceptance and being ok stuttering openly. I need to stutter openly to realise it is ok to stutter – Still!!. If I started using fluency techniques (regardless of their efficacy) I would lose this.

      Patrick

  5. Great video and message Patrick. Of course it is ok to stutter. It is not illegal. We are too harsh on ourselves sometimes and try to victimise ourselves in a silent corner. You are doing well and will continue to. Also it is ok to stutter and to still work on it. Keep up the great work.

  6. Mr. Campbell, I LOVED your presentation. I am a graduate student studying communicative disorders in California and I have to tell you, the message you’re sending resonates and will impact others! Thank you so much for your strength and courage in facing your stammer. The way I think about stuttering is that it’s not bad, it’s not good, it just IS. People have their ways of speaking and communicating and because humans are social, group-loving animals, we tend to take issue or even exude fear of any variance. It is only through education and exposure that these views will change for the better, and that’s exactly what you are helping to achieve. Your comparison to people in wheelchairs was great in that it displays a difference but NOT something that should be judged or shunned, just a difference from the mainstream and after all, variety is what makes the world a beautiful and interesting place. Onward!

    • Thanks for the great comments underconsume. I agree stuttering just is – like all other individual idiosyncrasies – and we shouldn’t let it hold us back.

  7. Patrick,

    Thank you for your candid and open words. I feel that so many individuals who stutter could really benefit from hearing the words “It’s okay to stutter.” There are so many powerful messages that tell people who stutter that it is not okay to stutter whether it be ridicule or the listener’s body language, but this message is equally as powerful. The fact that you are spreading this message through this conference is a wonderful way to enlighten people who stutter that it’s okay to stutter.

    You had said that you would spend a lot of energy trying to cover up your stutter. How does it feel now that you are making a transition into an overt person who stutters in terms of that energy?

    Thank you again,
    Katie

    • Hi Katie,

      Thanks for the nice comments and thoughtful question.

      I have to say I feel a lot more energy each day now and a lot less worry/anxiety. In times gone by, I would ruminate over possible moments of stuttering throughout the day and ways to try and avoid them. Now I very rarely do this. It has freed up so much head space. I find sleeping at night before ‘big speech’ days so much easier now.

      One moment a few weeks ago now helped highlight how much easier it has helped my life. I – for a few reasons – spent a whole night trying to act covert again. And it was just so much effort coupled with anxiety I physically couldn’t do it: I had to let some stuttering in (and I felt better for it afterwards). God knows how I passed as fluent for long periods in the past.

      Cheers,

      Patrick

  8. Patrick,

    Thank you so much for sharing and for putting your experience out into the world. It is a powerful message that translates to many aspects of life. Love and respect to you.

  9. Patrick,

    Thank you for sharing such a personal and inspiring story. As a speech-language pathology graduate student I am so happy to hear that speech therapy was one of the tools that helped you the most in finding this amazing and positive perspective you have on your stuttering. You mentioned that you have been more open and accepting of your stuttering for about 3 years now, do you ever still have moments of weakness where you fall back to your old patterns and negative thoughts on your stuttering? And if so, what do you do to help and remind yourself that “it is ok to stutter” as you pointed out. What advice would you give to speech therapists about how to go about helping a child or adult struggling with their perception of their stuttering? Your story has inspired me, not only that it is “ok” to embrace my own insecurities as you have, but as an aspiring speech therapist, that I can make a difference in somebody’s life.

    Thank you again! 🙂
    Laura

    • Hi Laura,

      Thanks for the nice comments. I still do sometimes fall back into my old habits every so often. I find keeping a foot in the stuttering community helps keep me on the right path: listening to podcasts on stuttering, being involved in a facebook group online. Such things remind me it is Ok to stutter. I think helping an adult or infant to change their perception of stuttering is a difficult one. I have been helped by many speech therapists but not one of them told me what to think about stuttering… their were no lectures or life changing speeches from my SLPs. They guided me towards the answer by encouraging me to ask questions about stuttering and trying to enable me to find my own answer. They didn’t tell me the answer, they let me find it. I think perhaps that is the true skill.

      Thanks,

      Patrick

  10. Patrick, I think it is great that you uploaded a video of yourself rather than writing an article. I feel as though it came off as a more powerful message! I believe each one of us can find something that we don’t like about ourselves but once we look at it with a more positive attitude we become more “overt” about it.It really all is about attitude! It is very admirable that you are going to school to study medicine. I think that proves that no matter what hardships we are going through in life, we can still accomplish our dreams.

  11. Hi Patrick,

    I love the analogy you used about a person in a wheelchair not being able to climb stairs. It must take so much for someone who stutters to accept that it is ok to stutter out in the open. I’m studying to become a speech therapist and I can’t imagine how hard it is to have your voice be a source of anxiety and fear. Bravo to you for becoming overt with your stutter. I think it’s great that you posted this as a video, rather than a paper because it gives your message much more weight for other young people who are considering becoming overt.

    Best,
    Laura

  12. Hi Patrick,

    I absolutely loved your video; although I do not stutter, watching and hearing you speak helped me better connect with you. You are so brave to make the switch from a covert to overt stutterer and I admire you for that. As many other posters, I am currently in graduate school to become a Speech-Language Pathologist. I am curious to know how your family reacted to your stutter throughout your childhood. Were they supportive or unsupportive? How did it affect you?

    Thanks again for your openness!

    Jessica

    • Hello Jessica,

      Thanks for the kind words. Interesting question, my Dad stuttered and so did his mother so I guess they kind of expected it. They were always supportive and my dad always stresses how at so many public speaking occasions fluent people were even more nervous than me. They never let it hold me back and I am thankful for it.

      Patrick

  13. Patrick,

    Your video was very enlightening. This video gives a positive message to people who feel ashamed of their stuttering. It shows them that it is alright to stutter and there is nothing that he/she should be embarrassed about. I am currently a graduate student who is studying to become a speech language pathologist. I was wondering what was your experience like in school in regards to your stuttering? Was it difficult to interact with your peers and teachers? Was there an experience that changed your perspective on stuttering?

    Thank you,
    Safa

    • Sorry Safa I missed your great questions out. School was relatively good as far as I remember. My school had a very strict no bullying policy and I did not get mocked for it much at all. However, that did not stop my own views of my stuttering being negative and something to hide: possibly set off by earlier events and one outside of school. I always had lots of friends at school, worked hard and got on well with most teachers actually. I could often have contributed more in class though. I still tried to hide my stammer.

      I wouldn’t say any specific experience changed my perspective more a compendium of smaller ones that gradually let me to the the change in perspective. Often, however, these small moments were driven by tasks set in speech and language therapy (like voluntary stammering and advertising!)

      Thanks again, for the great questions sorry I took so long to respond.

  14. Hi Patrick!
    I really enjoyed your video. It was very inspiring. I am so happy that you have come to grips with the fact that you stutter and it is ok. I believe that your video needs to be shared with everyone and anyone who stutters, has stuttered, or has never stuttered. It is such an inspiration. I loved the fact that you put your message on video instead of writing about it. It really makes your point more powerful. I am a graduate student studying to become a speech therapist. What advice would you give to speech therapists that is working with a child or adolescent who stutters? What advice would you give to parents with a child who stutters?

    Thanks,

    Angela

    • Hi Angela,

      Thanks for the awesome comments. I enjoyed doing the video (it took less time than writing a paper too! :). Working with children, I feel is a challenge to comment on as you don’t know whether they are going to grow out of it or not. I don’t know the evidence base but perhaps pushing acceptance over fluency strategies during limited clinician time may decrease their chances of full recovery? Children must be such a challenge; I don’t envy you guys. For adolescents, I guess it is more clear cut. Acceptance is critical to progress and getting it an early stage will remove the potential burden of years of shame around it. I feel involving the family and friends in creating a stammer friendly atmosphere and talking about it openly and honesty will greatly help. Adolescents have plenty going on in their lives already so be prepared for a challenge!

      For parents, I guess reminding them their is an 80% recovery rate and stuttering ain’t so bad, everyone has imperfections. You can still accomplish anything you want to if you try hard enough. They should just continue to support their child!

      Best wishes,

      Patrick

      • Patrick,
        Thank you for replying to my post. It was very informative. I agree, “Everyone has imperfections.” Children are not too challenging. We just have to get on their level and plan fun activities to keep their attention on the task at hand. I look forward to clinical sessions with children, because I get to be a kid again! I wish you the best of luck on accomplishing your educational goals.

        Thanks again,
        Angela

  15. Hello Patrick!

    I thoroughly enjoyed watching your video and I commend you for sharing your story! It is one thing to write about your experiences and difficulties with stuttering, but it is awesome that you took it to the next level and shared your story through video, allowing others to see the new overt you! What techniques have allowed you to be a successful overt person who stutters? And what advice would you give to someone who is still ashamed of their stutter and is a covert person who stutters?…How has becoming an overt person who stutters positively impacted your life? I wish more people who stutter could come to the realization that it is okay to stutter. Stuttering sometimes has such a negative connotation linked to it, but your story is so inspiring and promotes such a positive message. It breaks my heart that it took you a little while to realize that it is okay to stutter; however, I am glad that you came to terms with this. It is great to see that your stutter is not holding you back and you are pursuing further education in med school. Keep it up and keep sharing your story, because you are an inspiration!

    Thanks!

    Jessica

    • Hi Jessica!

      I really enjoyed doing the video. If I don’t stutter overtly who else can I expect to?

      The key techniques: voluntary stuttering, advertising and simply talking openly about stuttering. These were central to my own desensitization. I also think there is a lot going for cognitive behavioral therapy and acceptance and commitment therapy however, as well as the thinking time, you also have to put in the hard ours stuttering and trying to talk about stuttering.

      I think those people who stutter who are still covert and trying to pass as fluent need to realise the effect it is having on them. We can easily become blinkered to our faults, unwilling to confront them. I didn’t realise personally until a few experiences showed me the effect. Perhaps, if they note down each day every time they don’t speak to someone or switch words to avoid stuttering and total them up at the end of the day they can get an idea. Spending a life avoiding situations and switching words is not the way I want to live!

      Being overt makes life so much easier. I can say and do what I want. I hide my stutter so much less so there is much less (but still some) anxiety in speaking situations. Your phrase “not holding back” is central to my ideas about stuttering, sometimes it can be more than about speech!

      Patrick

      P.S. Don’t worry about my covert days. My life wasn’t all bad: I socialised, partied and had fun. I still do most of the same things now just with a lot more freedom.

  16. Hello Patrick,

    I would like to first thank you for sharing your story through a video. I think your choice to make a video is extremely courageous and shows how much progress you have made trying to accept your stutter and showing that it is okay to stutter. As an aspiring speech pathologist, this video really showed how important the youth conventions you mention are for individuals who stutter. It not only allows individuals to feel comfortable around peers but they can also bring back what they have learned.

    In your video you explained that once you began to relax about your stutter and stopped trying to hide it, you became less fluent. In addition to your speech therapy, I am curious to know what kept you going at this time and allowed you to continue to work on being more open about your stutter.

    Thank you again for your courage and best of luck.

    Sincerely,
    Samantha Mascari
    (Graduate Student)

    • Hello Samantha,

      What an insightful question! What kept me going during the difficult moments. I think once I started I couldn’t stop it. I couldn’t go back to hiding. The only way was onward.

      I was in a self-help meeting for young people who stammer once. There was this lad there who was having an awful time with his speech. He was in the same place I was back then. He dropped all avoidance behaviours and he was stuttering on every word, probably for the first time in his life. I asked him why? Why he had given up on his covert behaviors. He spoke about 100 words in five minutes of response! At the end to sum up, he just blurted out “F*** it” perfectly fluently. I couldn’t put it better myself.

      Thanks for the nice comments and for watching my video. I am loving all the questions. I am sure you will make a great SLP!

      Patrick

  17. Hi Patrick,

    I really enjoyed watching your video! I am a graduate student working towards getting my masters in Speech & Language Pathology, and I am currently in a fluency class. We’ve had many discussions about the acceptance of stuttering, and I can tell that you have opened up and are beginning to accept your stutter. It was inspiring to see you speak and it is encouraging to know that these youth conventions are really helpful. If I ever work with fluency clients, I will make sure to suggest a convention or create a support group of my own!

    It takes courage to post a video that can be seen all over the world, and I admire you for that. I read a personal story a few weeks ago about a man’s journey to accepting his stutter. He realized that as a society, we don’t value fluency. Courage, persistence, and honesty– these are the qualities we respect in others. They are very true words.

    Good luck and best wishes on your journey.
    – Jillian Krummel

    • Thank you for sharing your insights Jillian. I think that man is right… what we say and how we act are so much more important than how we say it!

  18. Dear Patrick,

    I love your video. You have a beautiful stutter. Thanks for sharing.

    K. Mortensen

  19. Hi Patrick!

    Thank you so much for your wonderful story/video. As a future SLP, what advice do you have from a therapist’s standpoint in terms of transitioning from being covert to accepting your stutter? Is there any specific exercise or counseling advice you could give to me for my future clients?

    Thank you!!

    Kate

    • Hi Kate,

      Great to see so many SLPs looking at these articles. They really give a great insight into how us stammerer’s think and see the world. Something, I think is vital for SLPs to know.

      I can only speak from personal experience to answer your questions. My SLTs have always encouraged me to set regular goals when it comes to speech, either daily or weekly. I remember my first goal, which took me near a month, was to voluntary stutter in front of a close friend once. We then steadily built it up from then. It was very slow progress but I think short-term goals were really helpful. I used to have ones like voluntary stutter twice today when ordering at McDonalds, don’t word switch when talking in class etc. Just small aims each day to keep me making progress and concentrating on my speech. Without them, I think it would have feel away. They were always around techniques to help me de-sensitise to my stutter (principally, voluntary stuttering, avoid avoidance and advertising) and helped a great deal.

      Specific exercises hmm… I don’t know. I think broadly de-sensitisation work and other key blocks of SLP work helps most people but every stammerer is different: treat the client not the stutter to an extent. I think, you have to know where the stutterer is at to know what they need. Like my SLT, setting me to go out and voluntary stutter infront on one person at first.

      Hope that helps.

      Patrick

  20. Patrick,

    I applaud you on your courage in presenting your story via video!
    During your experience in speech therapy, you mentioned you did a lot of desensitization work and voluntary stuttering. Could you please provide examples of any activities during your structured therapy that significantly helped to reduce your fears and anticipatory behaviors? As a graduate student studying speech therapy, I am eager to pass on your words that it is okay to stutter!

    Thank you,

    Jaclyn

    • Hi Jaclyn,

      Thanks for the lovely words. I would say allowing myself to stutter openly, voluntary stuttering and advertising were key. They really helped to alter my own mental image of stuttering. It takes hard ground work initially to do these things but it is very fruitful. Talking about stuttering and reading and listening to other stutters’ journeys (like these articles) also help to keep you on the right path and inspire. I find conferences for people who stutter very empowering; I always come back in a better mindset.

      Patrick

  21. Patrick-

    What a powerful message! Thank you for sharing your story. Like many others who have posted, I too am a speech-language pathology graduate student. I had several questions I wanted to ask after watching your video, but they were all answered after reading through all the comments. Thank you for taking the time to thoughtfully respond to all the questions posed- you are helping to shape the SLPs of the future!

    All the best to you,

    Laurel

    • Don’t worry about it Laurel: I have loved reading and answering the question. Best of luck in your future career.

      Patrick

  22. Hi Patrick,

    Like many other commenters, I am a speech-language pathology graduate student. In my fluency class the importance of acceptance has surfaced many times. I love hearing personal stories about the journey of acceptance and the impacts it has made on peoples’ lives. They constantly remind me of the importance in accepting it for both the individual and their speech therapist. Hearing feelings of gratitude about speech therapy through your journey is encouraging for me and it also illustrates the importance of learning about the perspectives if people who have gone through the journey themselves. I appreciate your honesty about the thoughts that went through your head as you watched people be proud of stuttering and that it has been a long journey towards acceptance that may still be going on. I especially loved your analogy about people who stutter having difficulty communicating being like people who are in wheelchairs having difficulty walking upstairs. It’s an analogy that many people can wrap their heads around, because it is more visible, and perhaps can give PWS more confidence in what they are going through.

    Thank you for sharing your story and your feelings!

    Alex

  23. Patrick,

    Thank you for making this video! You truly are a courageous person for putting yourself out there and it is appreciated! It is obvious that you have made great progress. I do have some questions. How long did you work with the speech pathologist before you realized it was ok to stutter? Did you receive useful strategies or did you find the counseling aspect to be more helpful? Also, do you ever still find yourself avoiding public speaking?

    Again I just want to thank you for your inspiring video!

    -Alyssa

    • Alyssa,

      Thanks for the nice words. I’m not that courageous haha! I guess I spent around 1 year in total speech and language therapy. It took most of that to realise it is ok to stutter. It was such a gradual process with a million small steps and very few large ones. You don’t wake up one day just believing it after a pep talk from a therapist!

      I think I found strategies to learn it was ok to stutter (e.g. voluntary stuttering and advertising) more so than counselling (although CBT helped a bit!). I think the person really has to find out for themselves it is ok to stutter you can’t just tell them that however you can push them in the right direction.

      I still avoid public speaking occasionally but much less so. I also feel bad when I do rather than pleased (like I used to). I often try to make up for it next time by speaking twice or something. I struggle in new enviroments where I haven’t made it safe for me for stutter (by advertising). Overall, I avoid a hell of a lot less though. I believe fluent people even avoid to an extent so I should probably give myself a break.

      I enjoyed answering your questions.

      Patrick

  24. Hi Patrick,

    Thank you for sharing your story. Yes, it certainly is OK to stutter.

    Adopting a policy of greater self-acceptance and openness has had an incredible effect upon my life. In 2000, I began speaking about my “darkest secrets” to all and sundry – in the street; at airports; in planes; on trains; in stores/restaurants – in fact, anywhere. 🙂

    In addition, I commenced an extensive (and ongoing) series of talks to community organisations in an attempt to create a greater awareness about stuttering.

    I also subjected myself to television, radio and newspaper interviews – revealing (often to substantial audiences) how stuttering has affected my life and career. Disclosing my “darkest secrets” to all and sundry had a hugely desensitizing effect. I am now totally at ease when discussing the subject with anyone.

    Patrick, you mention that you have recently become a Trustee of the British Stammering Association. Maybe our paths will cross at some future event.

    I wish you every success with your studies.

    Kindest regards

    Alan Badmington

    • Hello Alan,

      Thanks for the comment. I have read about your story several times, first of all in John Harrison’s book. It really is inspirational. You’re an A list celebrity in the stuttering world – if there is such a thing. I am sure our paths will cross one day Alan. I look forward to that day, perhaps the international congress in America 2016?

      Best wishes,

      Patrick

  25. Patrick,

    Wow this video was absolutely fantastic! I love your message!! It is OK to stutter! I also admire you at such a young age to be accepting of your stutter. I understand it is a process and is always a work in progress but your video was truly inspirational. It seems like getting involving in the stuttering community is really what helped you to accept and embrace your stutter. Did you also have Speech Therapy as a young child? How was your experience with psudostuttering? Was that difficult for you?
    Thanks again for sharing your story
    Katie

    • Haha, thanks Katie. You praise me too much. I agree totally the stuttering community helped me alot. It is great to find people who truly understand what you are going to. I even have my own stuttering heroes who I look up to for support and inspiration (a lot more likable than any sports star!).

      I did have speech therapy as a young child. I don’t remember much of it and I don’t think it helped much. I probably went about once every month for two years.

      Pseudostuttering (I call it voluntary stuttering) helped me loads to breakdown the shame I felt when stuttering and realise most people don’t care. A key technique to me. However, it is not easy to use, especially at first. I advise all SLPs to try using it once or twice during their life. It is the very definition of “no pain, no gain” in stuttering.

      Patrick 🙂

  26. Patrick,

    Thank you for sharing your inspiring story. Just from reading your bio I could tell that you were a smart young man who had a lot to offer the world. After viewing your video I realized that you are also sincere and a wonderful role model for many people. Just wanted to say thank you once more, best of luck to you in your studies!

    • Aw shucks, Dolores. Thanks, don’t mention it. I shall be needing that luck. I am sure.

      Patrick

  27. Dear Patrick,

    Thank you so much for your open and honest personal experience with stuttering! As a speech language pathology graduate student, hearing experiences such as yours really help my knowledge and understanding of what it is like to be a person who stutters. I love the message of your video, and I think it really does need to be the main focus of speech therapy. It’s amazing how things changed once you were open about your stuttering and really accepted it as part of who you are. Your story is so inspirational and can help the public better understand that stuttering, like you said, IS okay!

    Thank you for sharing!

    Korri

  28. Thank you for your insightful and inspiring video. I am a graduate student in speech-language pathology, and am currently taking a fluency class this semester. I am fascinated by disfluency and appreciate your insightful message about accepting that you stutter, and that it is okay! I agree!

  29. Bravo to you! It is definitely ok to stutter. You presented a wonderful message to all people who stutter. It was great to hear that speech therapy helped prove that it is ok to stutter. I am a second year graduate student in speech language pathology, so I have a question for you. If you could tell me one thing to do for my clients that stutter what would that be? Thanks again for such a great message.

    • One thing? I guess it comes down to caring less what people think. For me, hiding stammering was driven by fear of what other people would think if they knew I stuttered. If this fear isn’t present then neither will the covert behaviour. Get your clients to challenge the underlying fears: stutter openly, advertise, talk about stuttering. Then, you start to realise most people don’t care. You can do what you want with your life. It is Ok to stutter, who cares what other people think (we shouldn’t).

      [that said, this is much easier written than actually acted out in life]

      Thanks,

      Patrick

  30. Hi Patrick just catching up with your video. I admire your Approach very much I am sure you will reap the be benefit in the years to come. Stammering does get easier the older you get.I enjoyed meeting you and your dad in Glasgow. Good luck with your studies.

    Hope we can meet again at the next BSA conference if not sooner.

    Best regards

    John

  31. Hi Patrick,
    Thank you so much for your video. It is inspiring to see people face a challenge head on and conquer their fears. I am a graduate student studying to be a SLP. In my fluency class, we had to do a day of pseudostuttering, and it was one of the scariest things I’ve had to do. I had to remind myself throughout that day that it was ok for me to pseudo stutter. I learned so much from that experience, and your article really touched me. I want to show my future clients that it is OK to stutter and that who they are is not based on their stutter, but on what is inside them.
    Thanks again for your inspiring message,
    Brenna Taow

    • Sorry Brenna, I enjoyed reading your comment. I had to laugh at your story of pseudostuttering – try doing it your whole life. I think such an exercise is vital for future SLPs to really understanding what it means to stutter. I am so pleased you did it. I wish more would. You will make a great therapist.