Friday, October 3rd: Family and Friends

It was tough as a child wondering why my siblings did not stutter. Why was I the chosen one? I learned that my dad stuttered and my mom’s brother stuttered. It was clear that stuttering was in the family genes, but why did I stutter and not them? I can say that I never remember once being teased by my siblings about my stutter. My younger brother, Paul, was invited into the therapy room with me in elementary school. My speech teacher understood the importance of treating he whole family. Paul would do “slow smooth connected speech” exercises with me. I loved knowing that my brother was a part of my treatment. He is a very special person to me.

My parents did what they could to treat my stuttering. I would sit and read out loud to my mother. She would sign off on my speech card. I recall that my speech teacher held therapy sessions at a different school one particular summer. My mom, who had 3 other children to care for, would drive me to the summer sessions. I am thankful for the sacrifices she made for me.

My parents did not have anyone to educate them on the “emotional response to stuttering,” which I was profoundly impacted. Today they are very proud that I am a licensed social worker who has started provided counseling to young people and adults who stutter. They are very supportive of my career path.

How have friends and family impacted your development as a person who stutters?

Nora O’Connor

photoNora with her brother, Paul, at his wedding in November 2005

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Friday, October 3rd: Family and Friends — 4 Comments

  1. Hi Nora

    I am very grateful to my mother for trying to find the best solution for me (individual speech therapy sessions and intensive courses), and also for not listening to one of my secondary school teachers who suggested I should go to a ‘special school’ because of my ‘learning disability’.

    My partner is able to see clearly through my stutter to the person I really am and has encouraged me in so many ways. Being part of a loving, supportive relationship has such a positive influence on my everyday life.

    It can be emotionally draining dealing with people who either do not understand, or do not want to understand, what stuttering is. But it is always encouraging at the end of the day to come home to a loving and supportive family.

  2. Hello Nora,

    I am not a person who stutters, but I am a graduate student studying speech pathology. It is so great to hear that your family was so supportive and understanding. Your speech teacher also sounds like she did a successful job by including your family! After all, they are usually a person’s main support system. They have certainly shaped the person I am today and I am so grateful for their loving support. Is there any advice you would give to future speech teachers?


    P.S. Awesome picture!

  3. Hi Nora,

    What a beautiful depiction of your story. The beginning question is one I have thought of many times.


    Elizabeth Kapstein

  4. Thank you for sharing your story with us! It sounds like you had/have a wonderful family support system! I am a graduate speech-language pathology student at Appalachian State University. I am taking a fluency class and we are currently discussing stuttering modification vs fluency shaping. There seem to be many views of how therapy should be conducted. Based on your experience and knowledge do you have any techniques, strategies etc. that worked well for you?

    I look forward to reading your reply. Thank you!