Helping someone who has a stammer

How many fluent people ever consider what life is like for somebody with a stammer? Going through life with a stammer is quite difficult, and at times the stammerer would appreciate a little more compasion. After overcoming a stammer myself, I asked some of my friends, how they thought life was like, having a severe stammer. I had quite a few different responses, some of which annoyed me. Jim said: "I always thought that you felt a bit sorry for yourself and you made out that your stammer was some huge disasterous problem. It's not like you couldn't talk at all, is it? I also felt at times that you lacked courage, for example always asking Tony to order your drinks for you." Paul then gave his opinion: "I found it quite funny that at times you would be talking really well, but within a few minutes you couldn't get a word out." Ashley joined in: "I felt a bit sorry for you, seeing you struggle, was quite painful to watch."- This was a better comment! Nigel, another friend: "I am glad that I don't stammer, but what I think you needed to understand was that you were not the only one with issues and problems. I am extremely impressed that you have managed to overcome it though." I was annoyed mostly by the comments from Jim, and responded: "So you think to have a stammer is not that bad then Jim? OK, I challenge you to go up to the bar and order a pint of lager, but when you order it I want you to stammer on some of the words." I showed him how I wanted him to say the order, when to stammer etc. I then said: "After you have stammered on the words, I want you to see how it feels and to experience the way people look at you. You may then understand a little bit more of what I went through." Jim declined this challenge, even after a severe amount of prompting and teasing from different members of our group. Having a stammer is not nice and when someone who has a stammer seeks help, please offer them your full support. I was quite fortunate in that some of my friends did go to the bar for me and my parents were quite prepared to make certain phone calls, like phoning the doctors and the car insurance. At other periods in my life though, other people did make fun of me and at times I would become very depressed and withdrawn and would wonder why it was me who had a stammer. Stephen Hill ----------------------------------------------------------------- ---------------