As I thought about this topic of Family and Friends, I recalled my late mother, who stuttered in childhood. What must it have been like for her when she saw me – her first child – also begin to stutter?
My first memory of stuttering is in kindergarten during Show And Tell. I stood there struggling to speak. I am sure that my teacher, Mrs. Fuller did what she could to comfort me. But back then no one knew yet how to talk openly about this topic.
This was in the 1960’s, a completely different time in the treatment of stuttering. Parents were told that their child would outgrow it. Which is not always the case.
Years later my mother told me that she had brought up with my father about my getting help at school. When doing so she did not feel comfortable sharing her own experiences with stuttering.
I stuttered throughout my time in school. The speech therapy I got was of little help. It was only as an adult that I began to get better; through the self-acceptance I gained from the stuttering self-help movement, and improved therapy techniques.
Nowadays I attend Friends and NSA Conferences because it helps me to be around other people who stutter. And to help children and teens and their parents; by serving as a role model and helping out in whatever ways I can.
At workshops at Friends, a child who stutters in school is encouraged to speak in private with their teacher, or perhaps doing a class presentation about stuttering. And their parents support each other and learn about resources that are available. I am glad that it is a different world now for we people who stutter.
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