Thanks To My Stutter, I'm Never Lost For Words

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Re: Teaching Vocab.

From: Alan Badmington (to Morganne)
Date: 21 Oct 2008
Time: 12:49:11 -0500
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Hi Morganne, Thank you for reading my article and for taking the time to contribute to the online discussion. When I resorted to avoidance, I was totally unaware of the implications of such a practice. Until recent years, I was totally unaware that whenever I changed a word, I was fuelling my fear of saying that word. Each time we avoid something, we strengthen its influence over us. We can evade for so long, but the time will come when we have to say a specific word, we have to speak in a particular situation. I was unaware of the true extent of my dependence upon avoidance – it became such an integral part of my life. By regularly introducing my ‘feared words’ into conversation (and not waiting until those words were essential), I reduced, and then totally eliminated, the emotional charge that they held. I eventually convinced myself that I could say the words that had been such a bane for so many years. You ask whether it would be helpful to increase the vocabulary of persons who stutter. Yes, increasing one’s vocabulary can only be a good thing but (in my opinion) NOT if those words are to be used to avoid others that the client fears. When I changed the words around, I considered that I was still stuttering on the inside. I had to accept second best by not being able to select the words of my choice. But, that’s simply my own view. Who can blame those who wish to avoid the adverse reactions that sometimes occur, simply because we are unable to communicate in a manner that is acceptable to some sections of the community? Who can blame those who wish to escape ridicule, isolation or lack of respect? Who can blame those who wish to avoid the erroneous perception that they are of a nervous disposition, uneducated or unsociable? Who can blame those who simply wish to converse with a friend; commence a relationship; or contribute to discussions at work, school, or social events? We should never berate ourselves for indulging in avoidance. So many people evade things that cause them fear or discomfort. Such behaviour is not exclusive to PWS. You may wish to read the following poem that I wrote for the 2004 ISAD Online Conference. ‘Changing the Words Around’ I wish you every success with your studies. Kindest regards Alan

Last changed: 10/21/08