Living with a 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.

In this video I speak my mind, opening up about struggles for people who stutter, in a humoristic and serious way.

1,854 total views, 3 views today

Comments

Living with a stutter – Willemijn Bolks — 19 Comments

  1. Another great video! Thanks for do these! Hope that more young people see these because it helps to understand so many nuances of our experiences.

  2. Very cool, Willemijn!
    Stuttering does not remain due to bullying – it’s a lot more complex. However, the main thing I take away from your wonderful video is the benefit of speaking about our stuttering, not hiding, and living our lives. You show us that this is possible, and I thank you for that.

    Hanan

    • It differs from person to person. For me it was definitely due to bulying and I have a lot of people that had the same thing happen. (Stuttering as a mindbody disorder).
      Thank you.

  3. Hi Willemijn, loved your video. Thanks for sharing. What are some of the most difficult obstacles you have encountered, if any?

  4. This is a great video! I watched for the 2nd time now and it is still very enjoyable. Awesome that you share this with us 😀
    Groetjes,
    Een geheime stalker.

  5. Thanks for the video! Willemign, what kinds of experiences have you had with speech therapy, good or bad? What kind of advice would you give for a person who is going to be working with children/adolescents who stutter to help facilitate their journey towards acceptance?

    • I never had speech therapy, I only went to a course when I was 18. From others I often hear that they kept stuttering after they went to therapy when they were young, because they felt like something was wrong with them. It will be better if the therapy doesn’t treat stuttering as a bad thing. It’s not their fault.

  6. What a wonderful video! I thought it was amazing how you gave insight into your everyday life and explained how even daily activities can be stressful. I also really appreciate how you can make light of your situation. I was just reading your earlier answer about how you went to a course when you were 18 but never to speech therapy. Do you have any insights for what you would have liked to work on if you did attend speech therapy? Thank you again for sharing your experiences with us. I loved getting a look at what your day to day might look like and I thought your humor was fantastic. 🙂

    • Thank you! I would like if speech therapy didnt approach stuttering as a thing you need to get rid of. Focussing on acceptance and relaxation/being open about it.

  7. Thank you for sharing the video.

    Did you find yourself not talking in the classroom while you were in school?

    Is there anything you would have liked to tell your teacher, or anything you would have liked your teacher to do differently?

  8. Hi Willemijn!

    I am a graduate student studying speech therapy! I really enjoyed watching your video! I thought it was very enlightening to see the interactions you had with people. I loved how the man reacted by saying that people need to take time to listen and be more patient.

    Do you feel like you have to explain your stuttering to people whenever you first meet them or do you just avoid the topic?

  9. Hi Willemijn,

    I’m from the US and I loved your video! I think support groups can be really helpful for relating to others with a stutter. Are you a part of any stuttering support groups? If so, what are your favorite experiences with them?

    Thanks,

    Colton

  10. Willemijn,
    I loved your video! It was humorous and also insightful of your challenges with stuttering. I am a graduate student in Speech Language Pathology in the United States and I was wondering if you ever went to speech therapy? If so, how was that experience for you? Thank you!

  11. Willemijn,

    Thank you for sharing this video. I found it encouraging when you were able to overcome when you complimented those strangers as well as ordering the foods you actually wanted. I’m currently a student studying speech therapy, and I was wondering if you have any advice for me when I meet with individuals who stutter? As a future speech therapist, I don’t want them to feel like stuttering is a problem or any indication that something is wrong with them, what are some ways I can help them become more comfortable with their stutter?

    Thanks,
    Jem

  12. Hi Willemijn,
    I really enjoyed your video and think your personality and outlook on stuttering is great. Be able to see what your daily life is like is very beneficial to understanding how impacting stuttering can be.

    I read in earlier comments that you did not attend speech therapy, but went to a program when you were 18. What was the program like? What did you learn during the program? Would you recommend the program to others?

    I also read that you wished that therapy was more focused on acceptance, relaxation, and being open about it, as well as not focusing on trying to “get rid of it”. I agree with you that stuttering in therapy setting shouldn’t necessarily revolve around getting rid of it, but especially for older individuals who have a lesser chance of natural recovery, therapy should focus on how to go through daily life and expressing to others about your stutter. I am a second year speech language pathology graduate student and am currently taking a fluency class. Something that we have been instructed on is teaching more about acceptance from others, as well as being open about it. Your insight on this is very beneficial as a future SLP, and I will remember it when working with individuals who stutter.

    Thanks so much again for sharing your story and insights with us.
    Callie

  13. Hello Willemijin,
    I really enjoyed watching your video! I really liked how you went up in public and stuttered. I was wondering what made you change your view on stuttering? It is amazing to see how you are able to face the world as a person who stutters and feel comfortable about it, rather than avoiding communication. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences and how you have overcome your fears towards stuttering by acknowledging your emotions. I am sure being a teenager and a person who stutters is a vulnerable position due to all the stereotype towards stuttering. Thanks to you and other people who stutter, you are increasing awareness about stuttering, setting an example and making it easier for others who stutter to face the world.

  14. Willemijn,
    Once again a very funny video as well as very educational! It really showcases the hardships that a person with a stutter has to experience in day-to-day life. Thank you for sharing!

  15. I really enjoyed the humor in this video, along with the humor I enjoyed that she was so open to do whatever you asked for the video. This video gave real life example of people actually not noticing a slight stutter.

  16. I so love your videos, even more now that I know you better and know what’s behind the jokes. I admire you more and more for every video you make. You’re a true spokesperson for us who stutter, with a mix of education and humor we need to much.

    Keep talking and hope to see you here again next year. <3