|About the presenter: My name is Barak Liberman. I am from Tel Aviv, Israel and lived there until few months ago. I'm married, and work as a computer programmer. I'm a member in AMBI -- the Israeli stuttering organization -- for almost a year.|
The wildest fantasy that crosses my mind is to have met an adult who used to stutter and now is totally fluent, tell me that stuttering is a childhood problem which I will recover from in my adolescence. It will disappear without the slightest memory.
However, if this adult still stuttered from time to time, I wish he had told me that as time goes by I would learn to accept the fact that I stutter and not give it much importance. As time goes by I would learn how to handle my speech so it will not be a limitation. And besides, people don't care if you stutter from time to time. The fear of stuttering exists only in your mind, and as time goes by you will learn to face it. There are great therapists out there who know how to work with people who stutter; you just need to pick the right one. You don't have to avoid any speaking situation. And to prove it, in a restaurant with you, your speech therapist would have called the waitress, and would have ordered the dessert with the longest name in the menu, in the meantime he would have told the waitress and me a joke, and would have blocked badly on the punch line. The waitress would have laughed hysterically. The gazes and the giggles from nearby tables would not impress him at all. And I would have sat there tense in my chair, trying to conquer my own embarrassment.
Suppose that adult still stuttered severely. In this case, I wish he would tell me that he had some therapies in the past, and in some of them he was pretty fluent. And although he spent a lot of time practicing, the stuttering speech came back. And this is something that happens to many people who stutter and not just to me.
I wish he would have told me that he has a good job, that he has a girlfriend or even a wife.
I wish he would have told me that stuttering is a problem, but that the fear from stuttering is an even bigger problem. But as time goes by you will be able to handle the fear, and will even be able to answer the phone without those unnecessary heartbeats.
I wish he would have told me that all stutterers have good days when the speech is easy and soft, and bad days when the speech is hard and heavy. That's normal
I wish he would have told me that stuttering is not my fault or my parent's fault.
I wish he would have told me that I'm not the only boy who doesn't raise his hand in class, and is afraid to read aloud in front of the class, and who sometimes "doesn't know" the answer because he is afraid to stutter. I wish he would have told me that he went through that, too.
I wish he would have told me to show people that stuttering is not a big deal to me, so it won't be a big deal to them, and it will be easier to listen to me.
I wish he would have told me that in spite of his age, he didn't loose the hope to try to improve his speech, to decrease the number of situation he avoids, and conquer the fear before beginning a conversation with someone.
I wish he would have told me that efforts are being taken in the research field, and right at this moment scientists are working hard to find a solution to this annoying problem.
But why to go back to my childhood. Even today I wish to hear those words from time to time. But can it help?
Every person who stutters goes through a process in his life. This process is intimate and individual. The process of accepting stuttering and freeing yourself from its chains.
Suppose I had met in my childhood a very wise stutterer, who had told me all the things I have listed above. Maybe I would have understood some of his ideas. But the real process of understanding you can only do alone, by yourself.
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