A Hole In Your Bucket – Phyllis Edwards

About the Author:

Phyllis Edwards

Hello, my name is Phyllis Edwards I have had a stammer for over 61 years and it is only over the past 18 months as I have come to know what a stammering community is and met some really neat people who really got me. That I have recently realized that having a stammer isn’t all bad. And I would not be who I am or have the relationships I have today   or be in my dream job of working in early childhood with having had gone through life with a stammer. I feel like having had the opportunity, encouragement and mentoring to speak up, I have found my voice. I want to continue to speak up and share with others in the hope that they will be able to discover much earlier in life than me that although they have a stammer they can still follow their dreams and have really neat  relationships.

As soon as I saw the topic for the upcoming online conference for stammering awareness week ‘A Journey of Words, Resilience and Bouncing Back,’ I was bursting to get started. I was grateful and excited to have the opportunity to share how I as a woman with a stutter has survived, cried, laughed, despaired, found love, joy, nearly given up countless times but bounced back, fighting at 100 miles an hour.

It all began when, with my eager but limited computer skill, I was trying to find a romantic getaway for my ever-supportive husband. While I was searching for this holiday, up popped a comment from ‘Alexis Parker Connolly’  stating she was getting married and she was worried about saying her vows. I had no idea what web page I was on, but knew just what she meant. I responded to Alexis post with “don’t worry, love conquers all.” This became the beginning of a sister-ship we both feel was brought together by God, combined with our experiences of how we survived growing up with a stutter, and how we’ve been able to build careers and good relationships. 

I messaged Alexis and asked her what she thought about us ‘sisters’ writing a paper together. Alexis responded yes, she would be happy to do that. I too was so happy that Alexis was willing to share yet another positive experience with me, as I had seen and been so proud of the challenges Alexis had set herself and how far she had come. I also knew she would gain even more healing and confidence from it. I had been fortunate to have a paper accepted last year, gaining so much healing and confidence from the positive feedback I had received. I feel this experience of writing the paper gave me the encouragement and strength to push a little further to help others.

I wanted others who may have a stutter to realize at an earlier age than me, that having a stutter can enhance your life and doesn’t limit you following your dreams. 

I excitedly messaged Anita Blom, to tell her who I had adopted as a mentor on returning from the London conference, disappointed in myself that I hadn’t taken the opportunity to use the open mic. Anita had been kind and amazing and had challenged me to ‘pay it to forward,’ encouraging and inspiring me while giving her time to mentor me. I valued the fact that she understood the path I was walking. Anita replied and commented on what a good fit this topic would be for us so I felt it reaffirmed that I was on the right track.

I began to realize if I wanted to have a good life, friends, and follow my dreams, then I needed to find ways to cope with stuttering and become more resilient.

For me, I need to be honest and say when situations occur for the first time, although in my experience I do bounce back, depending on the situation sometimes instantly, other times it takes a bit longer. After I have stopped wailing, ranting, crying, putting myself down or being cross, then my problem-solving skills take over and I do develop strategies for next time. For example, introducing myself in a group situation was a nightmare. I always wondered why I couldn’t remember people’s names after they had introduced themselves. I eventually worked out it wasn’t my memory, it was the fact that I wasn’t listening. I was too busy sitting there hoping that I could get the words out when my turn came and that the dreaded moment wouldn’t go on for too long, praying in my head that God would help me be fluent. After all, it was only five words I had to say. “Hello my name is Phyllis.” So I thought easy, I just won’t go to group meetings. 

The need to find a solution became crucial when I began my studies to become a qualified early childhood teacher. I was required to attend meetings and seminars. I knew I needed to find a way to help myself because the pain of having to introduce myself was becoming such a burden. I must admit I was tempted to quit but I knew deep down I would never give up on my dream to be a teacher and let myself down or disappoint the people who had encouraged and believed in me and taken the time to care and listen to me. Together they had planted that little seed of self-esteem in me, so their support and belief in me meant so much because I can’t remember receiving much positive affirmation growing up. I resolved to think of a way, to find strategies that were best and honest for me. 

The first strategy I thought of was if I managed to get in first by putting my hand up and getting it over with I might just be able to say my name. I was sure this would be a fail-safe strategy but it didn’t work. I couldn’t get the words out and a kind lady rushed up and got me a drink of water as she thought I was choking. 

The next strategy I tried was to write the words down and learn them by heart. The phrase I came up with was ‘’hello, nice to meet you all, I am not apologizing for it but I just want you guys to know I have a speech stammer and by the way, my name is Phyllis.” This strategy seemed to work so I continued to put myself in situations where I had to introduce myself. The more I did it the easier it became and the more my confidence and self-worth grew. From the moment I first started using this strategy I knew I needed this safety net as a lifeline but I didn’t want it to be seen as though I was apologizing for having a stutter. I just wanted to explain and then introduce myself. I have never had a negative reaction and often the group leader will come up privately and thank me for sharing, quite frequently. I have also had group members thank me. 

In time I came to see that I also felt I was contributing to the group well-being because often at meetings and training seminars there is interactive work where you get to be with one or two people. I put myself in the other person’s shoes. What would it feel like for the people I was partnered with if when it came to my turn, I opened my mouth to speak and it looked to my partner that I might be about to cry or choke. If it wasn’t mentioned in the introduction round, it could distract from the task we had been given. So although I do admit that although this strategy was a lifeline for me, I also used it because I wanted to show respect to others in these group situations.

I was thrilled to get my first job in an early childhood centre. I knew I could show empathy, understanding and be comfortable being part of a collaborative team to work with children and their families. There had always been this niggling worry about taking a mat time. That first time I was so nervous, wondering what would happen if I didn’t get the words out; but I looked at all these happy expectant trusting little faces sitting on the mat, looking up at their new teacher. I had prepared my mat time, but I still wondered when I did stutter, would they laugh or get a fright and cry. I used some props and created an interactive mat time which went well.

The following week I was asked to read an impromptu story at lunchtime. Although I felt pleased and accepted by the team, I had known this situation would arise. I had worried about it, trying to think of ways to cope. I picked up the first book I could find, smiled and said: “I am going to read you a story, if you listen carefully as I am reading you might hear your name and I wonder what exciting things you might get to do.” I began tentatively, also wondering at the same time if the noise my pounding heart was making would drown out the words I was trying to say. I soon realized these children didn’t even notice any pauses, they were far too interested in listening for their name, the name of their friends, what hero they may be or if there would be a surprise in the story.

Children are great teachers with their honesty and accepting nature. For example, Ariki was the first to teach me that being read a story by a teacher with a stutter didn’t matter to him. The lesson I soon learned was it doesn’t matter how long it takes you to read the book, even with long pauses, if you promise to read a book then you must carry through on your word and read it.

Another example that warmed my heart and made me wonder why I ever worried about all this was a young man named Joe, who after I returned from the London conference, was waiting for me with his favorite book, “There’s a hole in my bucket.” Joe pointed to the couch where we had enjoyed many stories. Having been inspired at the conference in Wales where I had heard so many amazing people living their dreams, I was trying to find ways where I could further embrace my stammer at work. After our story as I was pushing Joe on the swing, I plucked up the courage to say “Joe, we have fun, I like reading your books even if takes me a while to get the words out.” Joe didn’t stop swinging, he turned his head and said:

“Phyllis I love you even if you have got a hole in your bucket.” 

Whilst embracing my stammer at work, I asked my supervisors and Castle Kids management if I could introduce ‘Dillis Duck’ as an activity at the Centre. They said yes and were very supportive of this idea.

Dillis is a duck that can’t quack like her siblings, but has a squeak that’s helped her help others.

‘Dillis Duck’ began to make regular appearances at Castle Kids Ruru Centre and came along with me to make a guest appearance for the ‘international stammerers’ awareness day to share yet another of her exciting adventures. Dillis never worried about the fact that she couldn’t quack like her brothers and sisters. She was too busy helping people with her kind heart and amazing squeak. When Dillis arrived, four older girls, Eden, Charlotte, Lulu and Lucy greeted Dillis like an old friend. These girls were the first to put their hands up when I asked for some helpers. They said ‘’Phyllis we will help.” They got down on the floor, then the magic moment happened. They each picked up a puppet and then these delightful amazing accepting girls told the story just how I had imagined when writing it. Dillis again emerged the heroine, lots of happy squeaking kind words could be heard. I felt humbled watching the girls and could see the acceptance of me as a teacher. Thank you, girls, for your love and acceptance. I always feel I forget someone but thank you for your part in my journey. Now I feel I can encourage other women that having a stammer doesn’t stop you from following your dreams.

 804 total views,  4 views today


A Hole In Your Bucket – Phyllis Edwards — 61 Comments

  1. Nice to read to your story, Phyllis.
    It will definitely inspire more women who stammer and sure, stammering should not stop anyone from pursuing their dreams!
    Greetings from Peru 🙂

    • Hello Cynthia thank you so much for your wise comments I just wish i had realised this earlier in my life but then I wouldnt have had the love and support of the people I have met on the way.I just hope that by sharing my story other women would eb able to follow there dreams at an earleir age them me.

    • Hi Cynthia when I replied to your comment which I really appreciated I didnt press what I should have pressed to reply to you properly so i am just checking you got the message because I really appreciated your comments.

      • Hi Phyllis 🙂

        Nice to read your comment.
        Yes! I recieved your message, I just didn´t have the chance to reply. Sorry about that!

        I am sure for you it was the right moment, the perfect time 🙂 I can imagine the feeling you have when you look back and see what you have accomplished.

        And as you said, you met incredible people on your way and that is amazing!

        Regards from Peru

    • Phyllis,
      I really enjoyed reading your post! It was very heart felt and you are so right about children being great teachers. Children keep it raw and uncut, but also are so loveable and understanding and can show you how to be resilient and push through your days that may seem to be so rough. I really like that you shared your experience about meeting other people who stammer through groups and how you prepared for them. I feel that I even do that sometimes myself; I try to plan out and practice how I will approach a situation that I feel so nervous about or no high hopes. By reading this post, it gave me light that there is always a brighter side and people that will stand by your side who are going through the same thing in life. You seem like a very humble individual and I love to see it ! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Hi Phyllis – an inspiring read! Where can I learn more about “Dillis Duck?” Sounds wonderful! Your passion and courage are clearly a gift to so many! I appreciate your engagement in the Voice Unearthed FB page too. Thanks for taking the time to tell your story.

  3. HI Phyllis! Thank you for sharing your story and experiences. You definitely show us that the power to evolve comes in strides, and comes over time and hard work, and input from so many (including the brilliance of children).

    I wanted to ask. You mentioned putting yourself in another person’s shoes. Could you provide an example or two more about when you did this? I love this idea of learning because it tends to help me decrease my instant need to judge others, and myself.

    Thanks again for sharing!!
    With compassion and kindness,

    • Hello Scott when I replied to your questions and comments I didnt press what I should have and I loved your question it made me think .So I just wanted to make sure you got my comment if not I would re do it. Phyllis.

      • Phyllis,

        HI! Thank you for writing back! I did not see you comment to my question above. No problem. Whenever you get around to it, that is fine.
        Thank you again for being you!
        With compassion and kindness,

        • hi Scott thank you for replying that you hadnt got my comment because I really did appreciate your comments and thought provoking questions.You showed lots of empathy and to answer your question an example I can give is when I began to attend training seminairs to follow my dream and be an early childhood teacher.I found I had to introduce my self which i always struggled with to the extent where i contemplated briefly that i should just quit and do something else.But a tiny seed in me wanted to keep going .I also didnt want to let down those who had believed in me. So so i came up with the stratergy to explain and it was really important to me i think thta little seed was growing to explain to people at the start when i was asked to introduce my self i would say ‘ Hello ‘I am not apologising for it but I just want you guys to know i have a stammer and then I would say oh and my name is Phyllis ”. I found this stratergy worked the more I did it , so i used ti all the time, but i also wanted to put myself in other people shoes because i was really aware that the others in the group were also starting out and i didnt want to make them feel uncomfortable by my not explaining at the start because when we got paired up in small groups lots of people find that situation uncomfortable anyway with out being faced with a person who looked like they were either choking or about to cry. later when i was lucky enough to be in my dream teaching jobs i still put my self in the childrens shoes not by explaining to them but for example by making sure when I was reading stories i would involve there names and them in the store they loved this, and they would sit and wait to see what hero or kind deed they were going to do today. I hope this helps answer your cool question . Feel free to ask any more if you want.Phyllis

  4. Hello dorilenzholte when I came back from the first conference in Whales I wanted to bring back a book to read to the children .I found one about a duck and the Dillis was spelt differently and when I got back I had been inspired by all these amazing people at the Wales conference . i wanted to acknowledge in a gentle way that it was ok to be different ,So I wrote a story about Dillis Duck who couldnt quack like her siblings but her loud squeak had given her a kind heart and she had adventures helping people.The children loved it so Dillis became a regular visitor to my work .The book I brought home spelt Dillys like that if you wanted to try and find it .I just created my stories to fit .Thank you for your interest if the rules allow it you could friend me and I can send you some of my stories.Thank you again for yuor interest .

  5. I loved this quote: “I began to realize if I wanted to have a good life, friends, and follow my dreams, then I needed to find ways to cope with stuttering and become more resilient.”

    That is an amazing summation of how we must take ACTION to develop this life that we want. Thank you for this

    • Hello Kunal thank you for your kind comments I would be interested to hear what stratergies you develop that was I can keep learning.Thanks Phyllis.

  6. My dear friend Phyllis. Reading another one of your amazing stories makes me want to see and hug you. I know you have had a rough journey, not just with your speech, but also dealing with it, yet you have found such wonderful ways of dealing with it, including and educating others, being there for your husband and for the children, using your personality and your skills to raise others, and with that, also yourself. You wanted my support. And I still wonder why, as you’re one supporting so many others, you just needed to see that for yourself. Your journey has been a long one, and it’s about time you share it, as there are many like you who think it’s too late to reach out. Your story might help others to not wait that long and to realize they had the answers, but just never realized it. The only thing I’m sorry for is that you live so far away. <3

    Stay safe and keep sharing

    Love, Anita

    • Hello Anita Thank you for your kind words I really appreciate it .You have been such an inspiring and supportive mentor to me.You just seem to understand where I am coming from and where I am at .Yes I do really want to continue to share that having a stutter doesnt means you cant follow your dreams because you can. You taught me that when you suggested in a gentle way I should look at” paying it forward ”’An example of how much I appreciate the guidance and support and help because I am so grateful to all the people that helped me on my journey and I want to thank and name them. Because you ” group of amazing women who stutter” have taught and encouraged me so much .So when I writing a story to share, I go way over the word count because you guys have helped me grow and accept so much, and I also have a group of friends in New Zealand who i know also are always there for me.That I just want to name and acknowledge you all. xx Yes I wish I lived closer to you guys as well. x Thank You and luv you guys
      . .

  7. Oh, Phyllis, I just love your article this year. More so, I love your triumphant voice – you being you and sharing yourself with us, your students, your friends and the world.

    Isn’t it funny that we can feel like we have nothing to say at all, and then we realize when we do start talking, we don’t stop?

    What is one thing that you have truly felt inspired by with your journey?


    • ThankYou for that you are so right once one thing I have discovered i can inspire others, I have felt inspired by with my journey is the discovery of the stutterring communites both at the world conferences and the amazing face book pages which led to meeting these amazing women i always want to name them but wouldnt like to leave anybody out.But you guys awakened something in me by your mentoring , acceptance and guidance of me and to see you standing so strong and getting on with your lives and paying it forward.. I also have a group of friends in new zealand and am affilited with START who have stood by me and encouraged me with this journey. oh sorry it is more then one thing I am working on sticking to the topic. but i just so inspired and grateful to have yuo all in my life. xxxxx

  8. Hi my kiwi sister
    I loved your story. I remember so well my wedding post & your reply, I felt such a connection through chatting with you and meeting you in Cardiff was just wonderful. I’m so proud of you & your journey is so inspiring to me & many others. Xxx

    • Hello my lovely English sister. You may get two of these as i had finished almost writing a comment and it disappeared it will be something i have done. So i started again and I just wanted to say again how proud I am for you being brave enough to share your story. I am proud of you. I hope you are enjoying the experience. You may find as i did it will inspire you to go on and do something again. With out you being in my life joined by we think God and our stutters my journey wouldn’t be as rich as it is . xxxx

  9. Phyllis,

    This story definitely opened my eyes more into the life of someone that stutters. Thank you for sharing to a soon-to-be SLP so I can be able to relate more into someone’s world and understand how they’re feeling. Also, thank you for being such an inspiration to many people.

    Kaitlyn McClure

    • Hello Kaitlyn, Thank you for your comments I wrote a paper last year for the first time and received lots of encouraging questions, and comments from a wide range of people. . I didnt expect to get them from SLP. but was thrilled at the interest these people showed as part of their new roles, with their interest and wish to show empathy in such a practical way. If you have any questions, I will be more then happy to reply.

  10. Hi Phyllis,

    It is so inspiring to read about how you have pursued your dreams. My mom is also a classroom teacher and she always comes home with stories to tell about how the children brighten up her day.
    I’m sure that the children could serve as role models to the adults when it comes to honesty and acceptance.

    Having gone through life with a stutter, I was wondering, is there anything you would have changed or done differently throughout your experience?

    Thanks again for writing, I loved hearing about your journey.

    • Hello Maddy,
      Thank You so much for your interesting comments you are so right,I have found that the children do accept you,they dont care if you pause in your story telling, but they are really interested when they know that the the story you are telling them, will have their name in it maybe showing kindness, or having an adventure. .The love and acceptance i got from them and their families was amazing. I learnt from Children like Joe and Ariki and all the children who I was lucky enough to help teach , and I wish I had realised this earlier ,that no matter what sore spot we may be living with , we can still be amazing teachers .The only other thing I would change is I wish I had been able to acknowledge how thank ful I was to the tutours and friends
      and colleagues who encouraged and supported me not to give up on my dreams.If you have any other quetsions I would be happy to answer them .

  11. Hello Phyllis!
    Your story is wonderful and I think it is absolutely incredible that you have found a group of people to help support and feel a sense of community with. I am sure they are all very appreciative of the kind words and encouragement you offer them each day, as much as you appreciate what they offer to you as well. I had a question, had you met another person with a stutter prior to Alexis on the internet? Or possibly in your classrooms as you have been in the field of education? If so, how did those interactions impact you?
    Thank you for your time, and your beutiful story

    • Hello thanks for your positive comments and your interesting question .When I stopped and thought about it today I remembered there had been a boy living in the same village I grew up in and he had a stammer but I never had anything to do with him. when I was a young adult I went on a course once to try and become fluent, and the people I met there had stutters we supported each other at the time but never really stayed in touch. This may sound strange because all though in my adult hood I had lots of supportive friends and colleagues who believed in me. But as child I just thought I was alone. This was about 62 years ago and today there is so much more support for families and children, which is wonderful When .When I accidently discovered the wonderful Alexis and stuttering communities on the internet this led to me going to two conference in wales and Iceland and I was so inspired by what I saw and heard and the people I met. The only way I can describe it is it was like being really thirsty but keeping going because a tiny little seed inside you and the support of friends and colleagues kept you going . I also had a loving husband and two boys,so I was happy, but then you discover these communities and you just drink it all in.And this the people who cared enough to share inspire and mentor me it just feeds your confidence.I know my answer may be jumbled but thats the only way i can describe it Feel free to ask any other questions .Thanks again .

  12. Thank you for sharing your story, Phyllis!
    After reading this, I can’t help but be further inspired.
    How your introduction to the stuttering community more or less happened by accident and how that paved a road for so many more friends and opportunities.
    This story should be shared for anyone feeling any sort of self-conflict, regardless if they are people who stutter or not.
    Thank you so much, Phyllis.

    • Thank you Ryan for your comments I am really blessed that so many of you really understand where I was coming from.I have been in a mentoring role for quite a while, as part of my job, and I often reflect and I am thankful for being able to bring that empathy to this role as you say empathy can apply to any self conflict.What awareness you show to have picked up on that ,Thank you.

  13. Hello Phyllis! First, I want to begin by saying I truly appreciate you sharing your story. It is so inspiring to read how you have pursued your dreams despite having a stutter. I am currently a graduate student and a future speech-language pathologist and your story has truly opened my eyes to what life is like for someone who stutters. Your story has helped further my understanding of someone’s experiences, thoughts, and feelings about life with a stutter. Thank you again for sharing your story!

    • Hello Rdionne, Thankyou for your comments I think I said in my introduction that last year with my first paper i didnt expect to get comments from speech language students .I was excited to get them and I love the fact that families and children are getting more support understanding and help then was available when I was a child with a stutter.I would be happy to answer any other questions you may have.Thank You again.

  14. Thank you for sharing Phyllis!
    I especially appreciated how your introductory strategy included “I am not apologizing”. You were a great example for everyone in that room, for not apologizing for what makes you different!!

    Thank you again.

    • Hello Casey Thank you for your comments, I really appreciated them, that stratergy combined with the friends who believed in me, let me carry on with my dream,but as in my story I didnt want to make other people who were also in a new learning situation feel uncomfortable .

  15. Thank you for sharing your story with us Phyllis. I love your idea to write out the words to your phrase that you had trouble with! I think that was a great idea and very brave. I am so glad that you were unapologetic and embraced what made you different.

    • Hello sorry you may receive this twice my computer skills are a work in progress.
      I dont think I posted my comments the first time. .And I wanted to say Thank you for your comments, it is always encouraging when people really seem to get where you are coming from .

  16. Hello Phyllis,

    I enjoyed reading your story and experiences. I love how you mentioned your purpose in encouraging others at an earlier age than you to enhance their lives and follow their dreams. I am a firm believer in educating the youth. They are the future; you not only did that in your personal time; you inspired the youth in your career as well. As an elementary school teacher, you inspired several children that you had brief and lasting interactions with throughout your career. You were resilient and determined to make a difference and set an example for the youth. If I must say so myself, you have accomplished both goals you set or yourself.

    • Hello thank you for your comments i appreciate it.I just want to share with others because I have learned that no matter what we feel is holding us back that with support and encouragement we can help each other.Thank you for understanding that.The childen who inspired me were young, wise, and so accepting of their teacher with a stutter I think it was reciporcal learning .Thanks again .

  17. Phyllis,

    This post really impacted me as a graduate student studying speech-language pathology. The more I learn about PWS, and how they often feel it hurts my heart to think that there are so many amazing people out there who feel like they can’t accomplish all that they wish. Your post gave me so much encouragement to do my best to help my future clients become resilient and realize that they can accomplish all of their dreams despite their stutter. I also appreciate the story you shared about Dillis Duck. This is definitely something I could use in the future with pediatric clients to help them realize that being different is a strength. Your story is heart warming, and I think everyone those who stutter and those who don’t could learn a lesson from you and your self acceptance as well as resilience.

    • Hello thank you for your comments, I think I shared this before but I want to acknowledge it again because it has had a big impact on me this year and last year.. All the comments I got are so encouraging. Last year was the first year I had written a paper and I was very nervous and pleased i had .I was suprised at the interest from student graduate speech language therapists.I love your enthusisiam and your wish to understand in a practical way. If it is allowed if you email me I can send you some dillis duck stories and the planning sheets .But you sound like you could write stories as well and if the children you are treating they may like to have a dillis or a different puppet and you guys could write your own stories. When i went to the Iceland conference a work shop presenter whose name was Eric Jaj was doing amazing work with children and families with computers . there was also a presenter called Daniel Rossi whose workshop was also helped me heaps gave ideas for working with children. If you wanted to track them down. I am sure they wouldnt mind.I hope i am allowed to put their names in here.Any work shop i attended I found lots to learn. Thanks again for yuor interest I am sure you will help lots of people.

      • Hello Megan thank you for your comments I got comments and questions from speech language students in my last paper, and was moved and pleased to get them again. I think it is really neat how you are looking for ways to help people also by building up their self esteem and encourage children to follow there dreams.My memories of going to speech therapy as a five year old was blowing through a straw. you could use a duck or I am sure you will have other ideas how you can do this.If you need any help with ideas just friend me as this closes soon on here.Thanks again for interest. I attended workshops run by Daniel Rossi and Eric Raj they both had creative ideas for what you are wanting to do.

  18. Your comment that you just wanted to put your hand up and get it over with really resounded with me. I loved your post and enjoyed reading from your position as a person who stutters. Your ability to influence your coworkers is really important.

    • Thank you for your comments you sound like you understand.My co workers were accepting and the people on the seminairs i had to go on and where i used the strategies of explaining first too others in the room was appreciated by them.I wanted it to be comfortable for them as well as I knew they were coping with their own new situations too,.

  19. Hi Phyllis, your story is such an inspiration for others to follow their dreams no matter their age or challenge they may need to over come. I appreciate you, sharing your story with the world. Phyllis if you don’t mind, I am wondering about how it was for you to grow up. How did your parents and your friends handle your stammer?

    • Hello, Thank your for question I dont mind answering it , it made me realise how far I have come when i first started sharing my story a good percentage of it was how rough I had had it as a child. but as i have grown it is becomeing more important to me to share the positive bits .But yes it was very rough, and the comments are not good for you as a child.It was the friends and colleagues in my adulthood they encouraged me to continue followign my dream.Also when I discovered the face book pages and conferences I suddenly realised I wasnt the only person to experience this as a child and that made such a differance.I hope that helps to answer your question it was a good one for me to answer.

      • Yes, that did help and I’m happy that you were able to persevere and find friends and colleagues that were supportive and encouraging.

        Thank you

  20. Hi, Phyllis, I honestly can’t help wishing I’d had you for a teacher when I was little – you are clearly so caring and fun! I’m so glad you came to find a community of other people who stutter that understand and support you. Thank you for sharing the details of how you came to be able to speak in front of people. I am a speech-language pathology student and share your desire to help people learn from an early age that their stutter is a part of who they are and they don’t have to hide it or let it prevent them from following their dreams. The Dillis Duck story you wrote is a great way to teach kids about embracing differences. Thank you!

  21. Hi Phyllis! Thank you so much for sharing your story, I enjoyed reading about your experiences! I am studying to become a speech-language pathologist and want to work with children as well, so it was helpful to hear about your students. I have a follow-up question for you about this: have you ever worked with a student who had a stutter as well? Thank you for your time!

    • Hello thank you for your question I have shared above that I was surprised last year.With my first paper to get questions and interest from speech language students.No i have never worked with a child who has had a stutter ,but I felt it was a privilge to be able to fulfil my dream and I think using the stratergies I needed to use , and wanting to build childrens self esteem it just fell into place.Like with Dillis duck because she has a squeak and not a quack the children could relate to her because although she was different it didnt worry her she just loved the adventures she got FROM being kind. I hope this helps answer your question and thanks again for your interest.

  22. Thank you for sharing your story! I was wondering if you feel that since you dealt with this issue and since you were able to overcome it, if you think it had an impact on the way you taught and treated children? Do you feel like it made you more understanding or it made you handle certain situations better?

    • Hello, thank you for your comments and I hope I am answering your question as to how I understood it. Are you meaning by the issue of how I was worried about reading stories etc.I dealt with that issues by thinking of stratergies for example and reading stories and involving the children I was reading too.I still do this to this day. Children responded to it and as I have shared in my experience the children with their love and acceptance taught me lots. for example I learned really early on that if you read a child a story and it has pauses thats fine but if you promise to read a story and dont follow up on it then they let you know. I just found acceptance and support from colleagues , parents and children.Thanks.

  23. Phyllis,
    Thank you for sharing your story. I loved reading about it from start to finish. I love that you experienced acceptance from the children you work with. I’m wondering – as a future speech language pathologist – what your advice would be to other adults who stutter but don’t have a community as you do, or who are apprehensive about joining a community of other people who stutter?

    Thank you again for sharing your story!
    – Jordan

    • Hello jordan, Thank you for you for your comments and I loved your question.Because this is why i wanted to write my story on here. I wouldnt give advice but I think it is heart warming that you in your role are asking these questions and wanting to really understand what people need .Maybe you could research and refer an adult in the situation I was in, towards the communities on face book and information about the conferences .I loved your question also because it makes me want to share more. Because before i discovered these communities I knew I had had support from my group of friends and work mates over the years which with out i wouldnt be the funny, loving, cheeky old lady I am today .But discovering these communities the only way I can describe it is I felt that although life was fine, and i was in the job I had always wanted to do. on discovering the communities i felt like a thirsty person and i just wanted to drink and drink.And the more i drank the more amazing people I met.Alexis, who is now my english sister and Christine Simpson whose patience helped me attend the first conference in Cardiff.And is just kept happenning, I soon began to realise I wasnt alone and these women were living such fill lives not letting their stutter stop them. and they just got where i was coming from.from.They encouraged me to push on and Anitia Blom who I self adopted as a mentor said to me” maybe it is time to pay it forward” and thats what happenned .If you get a chance and you havent already, you may want to read Alexis Parker Connelly, Pamela Mertz, Anitia Blom . I loved the papers on here, I learnt from them all,.But these women were the ones i discovered early on and they were wonderful There are many amazing facebook pages for people like me who hadnt even heard of stutterring communities .One face book page that caught me at the right time was ”So So what if i stutter” because untill I found all these pages I wish I could mention them all.When i saw Brandons page ”SoSo what if I stutter ” for the first time i thought yep thats true. Sorry this is so long but i a bit passionate about sharing the help i now know is out there.I hope these resources help answer your questions.

  24. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us! I like that you did not give up after the first strategy didn’t work (that is a message in itself!). It is important for everyone to remember that is it okay if we don’t master our goal(s) the first time around. I am so glad that the phrase strategy worked for you! Thank you again for sharing!

    • Hello Thank you os much for your comments.I really appreciate the empathy you showed in getting and understand what I was saying, and where i was coming from.I wish you well in what ever you are doing.

  25. Phyllis,
    Thank you so much for sharing your story with the ISAD community. Your endurance and modivation inspires me. Its amazing people like you who use their voice to make others aware of the thoughts and feelings towards stuttering that make changes in the world of speech pathology. Your story can be used outside the PWS community as a reminder of the greatness everyone can offer the world.

    • Hello thank you so much for your kind comments,I always feel a bit humble because I know I could never have done this on my own.I always appreciate my friends in new Zealand who have supported and encouraged me, and the insprirational and supportive people who I have met since discovering these on line communities.

  26. Phyllis,
    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I loved reading about how you pushed though and achieved your dreams. When you were talking about trying strategies that worked best for you I could tell how determined you were. You had a goal in sight and you were not going to stop until you achieved it and I find that so inspiring.

    • Thank you for your kind comments,I feel that I could never have reached the point where I could share with the support of a group of loyal friends here, and for the love and learning, mentoring and support I was lucky enough to get from people I met when I discovered the stammering communities .

  27. Oh dear Phyllis this was wonderful. Thank you for sharing your journey. This was such a powerful and impactful read. I love the fact that you found your support and resilience later in your stuttering story, and you’ve embraced that so much. What a testimony for others to hear, dear Phyllis. I’m an SLP, and my brother is a person who stutters since the age of 6. I also stutter now, but I didn’t start until the age of 36 and have only stuttered for four months due to a brain injury so my story with stuttering as a PWS is very new. I value your story so much because even though my stuttering journey personally has started so late, I still have a resilience story with stuttering to be told. Not one single journey looks the same. Also, I need to get my hands on a duck puppet. Take care. I know I have seen you at conferences before… I’m just not sure we have spoken much but I will have to talk to you about duck puppets the next time I encounter you.

    • Hello thank you for your kind comments I am glad you found my story helpful.Thank you for sharing your journey You show lots of empathy I would like to encourage you to share yor story, as it is so healing .If you wanetd you could share yuor story these pages on face book have been such a support .I found the duck story puppets help me embrace my stutter because i wanted to show the children who had always accepted me that it doesnnt matter how you are different that our difference can still let us follow our dreams. Thanks again.