Hey everyone, how is your weekend going? Mine is awesome.
Recently I was telling someone very close to me that sometimes I get uncomfortable with the fact that I am a stutterer.
To my suprise, he told me he had never ever noticed that I stutter.
It was suprising to me because he has known me for almost 2 years now and aside from my family, he is the closest person to me. It was kind of weird that he did not know that I stutter.
He then told me that it is probably not something I should worry about because it seems to him that I have learnt how to control it.
I believe it is true because sometimes I even “forget”(for lack of a better word) that I am a stutterer :-).
However, it has not always been like that. When I was younger, I had a severe stutter to the extent that I could barely make a sentence sometimes. Sometimes I would stutter to tears because of the embarrasment that comes with it.
As I grew up however, and became more aware of my stuttering, I decided to find ways I could control it such that I did not have to stutter too much all the time I spoke. I didnot go through any speech therapy, or read any self help books about reducing stuttering. I guess I just used my instincts to find ways that worked for me as an individual, and somehow, i did find a few ways that worked. These do not apply to every stutterer out there because we are all different.
What we should all know is that the first step to getting over anything is first to accept it. So, come to terms that you are a stutterer, and then do whatever you have to do to work around it.
Here is what I do:
I allow the fact that I am a stutterer to slip off my mind. I have noticed that whenever I “forget” that I am a stutterer, I usually do not stutter at all. I know this has worked for me because sometimes it hits me like midway a presentation that I am actually not stuttering and then all of a sudden I begin stuttering. So when I think about it, I stutter, when it slips off my mind, I do not stutter. Now it is really hard to just choose to forget something. Most times when you are trying to force yourself to forget, you actually think about it more. So let it just slip off your mind naturally. I do not know how exactly that happens but it does happen.
I substitute some words for others.
I do this especially when I have to read something. My stuttering is greatest when I have to read out to people something in particular, like a book, or article because there are particular letters in the alphabet that are hard for me to pronounce. For example words that begin with “I”, “H” “O”, “E” “A” etc, so if I am reading something to a group of people and I come across a particular word starting with those letters, I quickly find a substitute for them (if there is any) that is easy for me to pronounce, and in that way, I get to avoid to stutter too much.
I go through whatever I am meant to present or to read several times before I present it. This happens mostly when I have to discuss or present in class or infront of a group of people. I go through whatever I am supposed to present until I have sort of memorised it such that I can just get to talk about it instead of reading it directly(because I stutter more when I have to read something directly). Going through stuff also helps me get suitable substitutes for the difficult words before that time.
If I have to speak before a group of people, I speak when I feel I am ready to(if I have the luxury of choosing when I have to speak). Unless I am chosen abrubtly to say something or read something, I speak only when I feel ready to. If I feel I am going to stutter too much if I speak, I relax and wait until I feel ready.
If you are a stutterer, I think you know what I mean when I say “when I am ready and not ready”.
I stay positive. Always and always. I always tell myself that I can do it. Especially when I am picked to say something or read something abruptly, I just keep telling myself I can do it. I keep reminding myself that there are times I have spoken without stuttering so I can do this too. It works for me. Even when I still stutter, I get mad at myself but then I later remind that I can still do it next time.
I tell. Yes, sometimes, i just tell the person or people i will be talking to that I stutter sometimes so they should expect that every once in a while as I am talking. It is funny how I stutter less when I tell people that I may stutter as I speak.
I try to speak neither too fast, nor too slowly. Some stutterers say they speak fluently or stutter less when they speak slowly. However for me, when I speak slowly or fast, I stutter more than when I speak moderately. I try to maintain a moderate speed of talking especially when presenting something. If I stutter, I stop, wait a few seconds just to get myself together and then I continue.
Whenever I can, I try to practice reading stuff out to myself and record myself sometimes as I do that, just to know where exactly i find problems pronouncing words. Especially words that are difficult for me to pronounce.
In that way, i can find ways to pronounce them so that i do not have to stutter as much as i would have.
So that is how I have tried to control my stutter over the years, and it has worked for me to a great extent since most people who just speak to me occasionally do not even notice that I stutter.
However there are times when all the above fail and the stutter just gets stubborn and stays. When such a thing happens, do not be embarrased, or sad or feel any less of yourself. Everyone has one or two things about them that they are not comfortable with. You are not alone, and you can be anything you want to be despite your stutter.
How do you control your stutter?
Have a great weekend!.
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