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.
"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
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me and at times I would become very depressed and withdrawn and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.