What Do You See – Gareth Walkom

Gareth WalkomAbout the Author:

Gareth Walkom is from Basingstoke in the UK and now lives in Ghent, Belgium. He is a proud person who stutters, and since 2015, he has been combining his experience of having a speech disorder with his knowledge and understanding of virtual reality.

Gareth studied for a bachelor’s degree in Digital Media Technology, followed by a master’s degree in Medical Product Design, both at Nottingham Trent University. In his degrees, Gareth created a virtual reality application to observe stuttering behaviors, experimenting with exposure therapy and eye behaviors, highlighting the potential of virtual reality as a tool.

Realizing how much the speech disorder community needed this tool, Gareth took the leap and founded withVR on the 22nd October 2020 (International Stuttering Awareness Day).

Stuttering has many misconceptions. For a disorder that has such a large population, you’d think that the rest of the world would have more awareness on the topic of stuttering. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. As people who stutter, we regularly encounter negative reactions from our listeners due to what the listener can see in our stuttering. What the listener is often unaware of is the emotions, thoughts, and person that’s beneath the skin. 

In this video, I showcase how eye tracking, head tracking, facial tracking, and 3D computer animations can be used to portray this.

Sometimes, there’s more than what you see.

 

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Comments

What Do You See – Gareth Walkom — 19 Comments

  1. Great work Gareth. What lovely words and a beautiful voice over too. So good to see you stuttering at the end in person.
    Hope all is well, best wishes, Patrick

  2. This was really compelling and wonderful. A message to everyone, not just those encountering stuttering, but for everyone to slow down and take a moment to really see and hear the person who is speaking.

    This is one of the most creative stuttering messages I have seen.

    Pam

  3. Gareth,

    your message to people who do not stutter really helps the listener to stop and focus on the individual rather than the outside appearance. By the 3rd animation i was no longer paying attention to what animal was in front of me but more focused on the words being spoken. Great message!

    Jenae

  4. Hi Gareth,
    This was a great video. It is so important to truly listen to what someone is saying, I loved every sentence of this video. The message of slowing down our minds and listening carefully to the speakers emotions and message is so important and often overlooked.

  5. I loved this video. It was so straight to the point, yet so powerful. I think that videos like these are helping educate others about the misconceptions of stuttering and makes people think about their misconceptions. Thank you for sharing this.

  6. Gareth,
    I wanted to share that your video was a very powerful and the message was very thought proviking. Thank you for providing this video as a way of reflecting about our (people who do not stutter) behaviors when we engage/ communicate with PWS. I will ensure that I do not change my behaviors and communicate the same way as I do with anyone else becuase the last thing I would want to do is discourage a PWS from communicating.
    And just to share, I see a person with emotions, dreams, and a need to fulfill a social need and communicative intent. I see a person with a speech difference and not a disorder. I wanted to let you know that you are seen for what you are underneath and not just what is demonstrated at the surface.

    P.S. Great work on the VR.

  7. This is such an insightful way to reflect the negative reactions that listeners might convey onto people who stutter. I really like how you were able to incorporate your talents with media and virtual reality to create this simulation and I also really enjoyed the script that you wrote.

  8. Gareth,

    This was a great portrayal of how people tend to focus more on the physical appearance than the words actually spoken. I enjoyed the animations that helped the listener focus solely on the words rather than the physical factors! This would be such a wonderful awareness tool to help people understand how much they truly do focus on physical appearance.

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