|About the presenter: Russ Hicks has stuttered significantly all his life. He lives in Dallas, Texas, and joined the National Stuttering Association in 1985 and Toastmasters in 1988. He has had great success in Toastmasters, winning the Southwestern United States Regional Humorous Speech Contest in 1996, and is currently a DTM, a Distinguished Toastmaster, the highest rank in Toastmasters International. He founded the Callier Communicators Toastmasters Club in Dallas, the first Toastmasters club in the world devoted exclusively to people who stutter. He is a past president of the Dallas Chapter of the NSA. Russ was the NSA national Member of the Year in 2000 and served as a webmaster for the national NSA website. He has a personal home page at www.russhicks.com.|
You stutter. Big deal. So do I. "Big deal" you say? Yeah, it certainly can be, no doubt about it. And if you're more than about ten years old, chances are you'll stutter for the rest of your life. But it does NOT have to ruin your life. Stuttering can be a difficult card to be dealt in life, but that card IS playable, sometimes very well. The first thing you have to do is to develop a game plan. And this game plan should be based on truths, not horrible nightmares. So let's get started...
Here are some things you might LIKE to do...
I know you've spent 90% of your mental energy in your entire life worrying about your stuttering. People who've never stuttered have no clue about this. That 90% is a very conservative number. It may be like 95% or higher. It's the first thing you think about when you wake up every morning and the last thing you think about when you go to bed every night. Been there, done that. And it's no fun.
HOWEVER... we've been worrying about the wrong thing! No kidding! As hard as it is to believe, people really don't care about stuttering disfluencies, but they DO care about effective communication. Fluency and communication are two different concepts! You should be concentrating on being a more effective communicator, not trying to be perfectly fluent. The primary objective of good speech therapy should be to improve your communication ability, not to simply try and make you fluent. And when you can communicate well, the world is your oyster! If you stutter and can be an effective communicator, you can do anything you want. Doctors, lawyers, merchants, (and no doubt thieves and candlestick makers) who stutter lead successful lives. (Thieves may be an exception there...)
The trick to this whole idea of acceptance is to FACE that fact and then DO SOMETHING about it. Without taking action, all your worries will be for naught. But when you accept something and then take action to do something about it, that's where you can turn your dreams into reality! Don't give up. DO SOMETHING!
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