The Fluency Trust is running its annual course for children and young people who stammer this July. The course combines intensive therapy with outdoor pursuits. Here one of the course participants describes how it has helped her.
Natalia has worked consistently to move forward with managing her stammer in a positive way. She has benefitted from individual speech therapy and has attended two Fluency Trust courses. She had to overcome her dyspraxia and her stammering and is now set to pass on her support and knowledge to others as our young person mentor on the course, this July.
Her thoughts send a message of hope to other young people who stammer and express the determination needed to consistently move towards personal best hopes.
‘The first course was a really good experience for me because it has not just helped me with my stammer, it has helped me boost my confidence, be less sensitive about my stammer, and be more positive about my life.
I could meet other people with a stammer who understand the difficulties associated with stammering, they are more empathetic as they have gone through or are going through the same problems.
I have come a long way, but I only realised it recently. I made progress without realising it. Progress seemed quite slow and it took a lot of effort but I was really determined. The second course was the same but I enjoyed it more, although there were some challenges.
A challenge was actually going there and meeting new people but everyone was nice and I made friends. Another challenge was doing a questionnaire to members of the public. The first time was harder but the second time was much easier. It was not just me who was facing challenges, it was other people too and I sometimes helped them.
My hard stammer is like a tiger. Once my stammer, and my sensitivity were really bad and that’s where my tiger pounces on me. After that I try and ignore it by putting it in a wardrobe, but it’s so fierce it manages to get out and hurt me. After trying to ignore it, I try something else which is actually taking control of it and I know it’s hard but I need to take control of it, and my life, instead of the tiger taking control of my decisions and my life. I put it on a leash which is the same as using strategies to control my stammer. It takes a lot of practice but I’m determined to take control of my life. After lots of hard work and effort I take control of it but at times it still escapes. When I trust my tiger, I can put it off the leash and we become friends.
I am at the stage where I’m taking control of it and it’s getting easier over time, but at times it escapes. Maybe soon I will take the tiger off the leash.
Every day I still use techniques that I learned on the course, not just to work on my fluency but in normal challenges in life.’
For course information see The Fluency Trust www.thefluencytrust.org.uk
To read about the therapy approach: ‘The Teens Challenge: stammering therapy and adventure’, by Claire McNeil, is a Chapter in ‘Stammering Therapy from the Inside -New Perspectives on working with Young People and Adults’, ed Carolyn Cheasman, Rachel Everard and Sam Simpson J& R Press 2013 (Book review. The book is available in the BSA members library).