Things that annoy people who stutter – Willemijn Bolks

About the Author: My name is Willemijn and I am a 19 year old girl from the Netherlands.  From age 12 to 17 I hid my stutter, which forced me to express myself in other ways than speech. This is one of the reasons why I started making art. I’m currently studying design at artschool, and trying to be more open about my stutter. I do this by talking about it and making art or videos. Connecting with other people who stutter really helps me as well, and I’m hoping to go to international stuttering conferences in the future.

NOTE to viewers: Please note before starting video, content is in Dutch with English subtitles at bottom.

I made this video to speak my mind, to help explain people in a funny way how to (not) treat people who stutter. Humor really helps me to open up about what is on my mind and takes the tension off.

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Things that annoy people who stutter – Willemijn Bolks — 30 Comments

  1. You’re such a cool woman, Willemijn! 🙂 It’s amazing how you project stuttering in so many ways. Words, movies, drawings. Love it! Your journey is so amazing, I’m so happy to be a part of it. You’re all that! Happy ISAD and keep talking!

  2. This is so wonderful. I believe I saw this before and Ioved seeing it again. This needs to be seen by the widest audience as possible and you definitely need to go to an international conference on stuttering. And you would be an outstanding guest on someone’s “Women Who Stutter: Our Stories” podcast.

  3. A humorous and entertaining take on reactions to stuttering. I wonder if you’d be willing to share your story of changing from from covert to open stuttering, and the effect that has had on you.

  4. This was a great portrayal of what PWS encounter. These can be so frustrating! I am glad that you are able to put a humorous spin on your frustrations. Your confidence and self-esteem comes through and is inspiring for others!

  5. I laughed so hard watching this. My favorite was the very last scene, in which SIRI erroneously interprets what you’re saying. Thank you for sharing. I’m not a person who stutters, but as part of the intensive stuttering clinic I participated in this summer, my team and I participated in several pseudo stuttering situations in which I experienced a lot of the things you’ve demonstrated here. I never realized how frustrating it can be when people try to “help” until I experienced it myself. I love the honesty you’ve shown here.

  6. Thank you for sharing this video, I enjoyed watching and had a good laugh. When these circumstances happen in daily life do you just let them go or try to educate the person? What would you say to someone who is struggling with how people react to their stutter? Thanks!

  7. We enjoyed the comedy added to the video, while also showing the struggles of everyday life as a person who stutters. What we found most interesting was your comments regarding technology as we are constantly using this for everyday activities. As technology is rapidly advancing in the fields of voice recognition and more, we hope that eventually people who stutter will be able to use technology in the same ways as people who do not stutter.

  8. Thank you for sharing this video! I am a future speech-language pathologist and your video helped me learn many things that could help me empathize with my future clients. Many of the things you talked about in your video are things that I had never thought about before. For one, being aware of my body language while someone stutters is very important. I would not want my facial expression to make someone feel uncomfortable about themselves or their stutter. I had also never thought about challenges you might face with technology. Are there any strategies you use to make using voice commands with technology easier? It would be awesome to see Apple and Google come up with a way to make voice commands easier for those who stutter.

    Thank you so much for sharing. Your video taught me many new things that I will carry into my practice as a speech-language pathologist!

    • Thank you. I actually never use voice commands because of this. It makes me nervous. But then I dont know anyone else that really uses that, its not really necessary.

  9. Thank you for sharing your wonderfully humorous perspective, Willemijn! It is interesting to see some of the reactions and problems you run across. I read your bio and was shocked to learn how long you hid your stutter. Do you think that experience heightened your creativity or strengthened other communicative skills? If so, I am really glad you gained something positive from a crazily challenging experience. I am also really glad you’re not hiding anymore, because I think your art is really important. Do you share your art elsewhere?

  10. I really enjoyed your video and that you’re able to find humor in annoying reactions that others have when you stutter. How do you prefer people react when you’re having a moment of stuttering? Does it make you feel anxious if people hold eye contact while you’re in the moment? Or do you prefer people look away?

  11. I enjoyed your video! I think it actually brought to light a lot of things that people probably try to do to help but are “annoying”. I think of times when I am trying to do something and people try to help too much. I know they are trying to help but in my head, I think “why do they keep doing this?” I thought the first one, the monkey face, was hilarious, but so true! I also think that when people have that expression on their face it probably sends the message of: hurry up and finish talking. Along with being a funny facial expression, it probably is a bit frustrating too. Do you have any recommendations on what do instead of these things?

    PS- I agree with everyone that you are a natural in front of the camera!

  12. I truly enjoyed your video and perspective. I never considered how Siri would react to a moment of stuttering! By the way, you are a natural actress, I hope you continue with your message.

  13. I enjoyed your video and it was also educational for what things to educate family members about that may be annoying the person who stutters. I like that it shows things that people may think are helping, but are actually just really annoying. It is always great to find humor in any situation, and you have done this wonderfully. Do you ever try to educate people when these types of things happen in a humorous way?

  14. Loved the video, Willemijn! Very creative. One question, I saw how Siri on your phone interrupted your communication with her, are there any other difficulties with technology that you have due to stuttering?

  15. I absolutely love humor and I connect with it so well. Thank you for sharing your video!! I think the funniest part is the things you called attention to actually happens and people who don’t stutter, or don’t have experience with stuttering, have no idea they are doing it.

  16. Thank you for sharing! I enjoyed your video, Willemijn! I saw in the video that the person on the phone hung up on you during your stutter. Does this happen often, and if so, what is your approach towards this? Thanks in advance!

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