Children can develop a stammer at an early age and for the parents it can be a very worrying time. It is difficult to know what to do. Parents wonder if it is just an age thing or just a phase. They think about whether to take their child to some form of speech therapy, however worry that that might be an over-reaction.
I myself developed a stammer at the age of four or five. My mother had left work to look after me when I was born and I started to talk as normal. Everything was fine until I started school. My mother who now had more time on her hands decided to re-start work and I would now be going to a friend of the families after school. This friend was called Jean and she had a son my age called Graham. On the first day I spent at her house everything was going well until Jean called us in for our evening meal. Meal times at my own house were a very relaxed affair, we were able to eat our food wherever we wanted to in the house.
At Jean’s house they ate in a dining room around a dining table. There were a lot of people around the table who I did not know very well and eating in front of them all itself made me feel quite uncomfortable. During the meal people were asking me various questions and for whatever reason, I found it difficut to answer and started stammering. This was the first day of my life as a stammerer.
My parents a few months later took me to speech therapy, the speech therapist advised them that most children will grow out of stammering. I continued unfortunately to stammer until I was twenty two.
Stammering affected every decision I ever made and was constantly on my mind. Having a stammer made obtaining work, relationships and socialising very difficult and at times I became very depressed.
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