Great meeting of the South Wales Stammering Network in Cardiff last night! There were 11 of us there – the biggest number we have had for a long time. Some old friends turned up again, and it was wonderful to see the progress they had been making in their lives over the past couple of years. The Group was not the cause of that – the achievement was theirs – but we know that we made a difference.
Someone told us how he had gained fluency – enough to make him a sought-after committee chairman – through deciding not to worry about stammering. When the worry became less, so did the stammer. He was wise enough to tell us that he knew his way would not work for everyone, but I know that many of us took away something useful for our own lives. I certainly did.
Then there was that extraordinary moment, which still tends to make me break up – when someone has the courage to come along to a group like this and, for the first time in his or her adult life, opens up about stammering with other people who stammer. As usual, their reaction was partly one of disbelief: “You stammer, like I do, and you are nice people who have found a way to live your lives that gives you a sense of purpose and pride??? Maybe I can do the same ….”
We are so, so, so much bigger than our stammering – it is just a tiny facet of who we are (even if we sometimes feel it colours everything). It’s just that we need other people to tell us so. And that’s why I am so pleased to be part of a stammering support group.
Just a footnote – now that Arwel Richards has started another support group in South Wales, we might have to change our name. We will have to put an “East” in there somewhere!
Link: South Wales Stammering Network page on this website.