Make Room For The Stuttering

PamEpisode 126 features Christine Birney who hails from Kesh, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland. Christine works as a child care assistant.

She is also the founder of the Northern Ireland Support for Stammering and Dysfluency (NISSD) Fermanagh chapter for people who stammer in the west of Northern Ireland.

Listen in as we discuss the impact of workplace stammering and about confidence building. Christine shares about her journey with speech and language therapy, and meeting and talking with other people who stammer.

We also discuss Christine’s start-up of the stammering support chapter and the advertising she has done to reach out to people. Christine has done several interviews about her new support group.

This was a wonderful conversation with a confident young woman who embodies the importance of talking to people. Feel free to leave comments or ask questions in the comment section.

The podcast safe music used in today’s episode is credited to ccMixter.

 

I wrote a post on Loss of Control five years ago! And it still rings true today. I want to share parts of that post in today’s blog post.

Probably one of the most helpless feelings a person can have is that feeling you get when you lose control when speaking. You probably know what I mean.

My stomach feels like its going to bottom out, my chest gets tight, and my heart starts to pound so hard it feels like everyone can hear it. And my face heats up, I feel a lump in my throat and then my eyes start to well up. If the feeling lasts longer than a few seconds, my eyes spill over.

I feel loss of control when I get embarrassed, because these reactions happen automatically and involuntarily. I also feel loss of control when I get angry, or sad. I always felt like I should be able to control my reactions to feelings. Almost all of the same physical reactions occur.

I used to feel I had some control over my stuttering. Fairly early, I began to know which words or sounds I might stutter on, and concentrated on switching words or doing the avoidance thing. That stopped working for me long ago.

I started feeling more in control when I dropped most of the covert stuttering and just let natural stuttering out. Since not fighting so hard to not stutter, I have felt pretty controlled with my easy, relaxed repetitions.

But sometimes my speech is messy. I can’t predict stuttering moments like I used to be able to, and I feel more tension and lack of control.

I often feel helpless, especially when around someone new or who is impatient.

Even though I tell myself I don’t care what others think, I still sometimes feel the sting of judgment and fear rejection.

What do you think? Do you feel out of control when you get really stuck in a stuttering moment? Does this feeling ever go away?

PamEpisode 125 features Satu Nygren who hails from Helsinki, Finland. Satu is 23 years old, is very active in the stuttering community and works as an au pair in Stockholm, Sweden.

Satu is a board member for the Finnish Stuttering Association and has attended youth camps sponsored by the European League of Stuttering Associations (ELSA.)

Satu attended her first youth camp three years ago, where she first saw a person who stutters act and speak with confidence.

Listen in as we talk about how people who stutter in Finland are regarded, covert stuttering, confidence and the positive impact acting had on Satu’s stuttering.

This was a great conversation with a bubbly, social young woman who loves to communicate. Feel free to leave comments or ask questions.

The podcast safe music used in this clip is credited to ccMixter.

I just finished reading a great article in my Toastmasters magazine on the importance of body language when speaking, whether to one person or a large group.

As a Toastmaster, I know the importance of body language. It helps us to convey feelings and emotions and shows our level of confidence. People pick up on our non-verbal cues and then often know how to react or respond.

As I read and reflected on body language, it made me wonder how it relates with our stuttering. I posed this question on an online forum for women who stutter and got some good responses.

Several said something similar – standing with pride. Friend Amey writes: “Shoulders back, head up, eye contact. Keeping this posture during stuttering can be liberating. It rips down stereotypes of us being scared and curled up in a ball.”

Amey goes on to say that seeing a proud person who stutters is powerful. It conveys confidence. She says, “Watch me stutter!”

What do you think? Is body language important to keep in mind about our stuttering? Can you feel pride while stuttering?

I participated in a great conversation this week about ways to build confidence if you stutter. During a Stutter Social chat, a young person asked how some of us more “seasoned stutterers” deal with the anxiety of stuttering in certain speaking situations.

Some people shared their experiences from speech therapy, some shared from their perspective on acceptance and two of us talked a little about Toastmasters.

The following are some of the ideas that we shared about building confidence. Maybe you’ve tried some of them. Maybe you’ve got a suggestion to add.

  • Don’t obsess or rehearse before hand. That increases anxiety and decreases spontaneous conversation.
  • Consider advertising and letting listeners know that you are a person who stutters.
  • Try using voluntary stuttering to help you gain some control during the speaking situation.
  • Seize opportunities to speak, such as Toastmasters clubs or other speaking forums. Practice helps reduce anxiety and build confidence.
  • Remind yourself that you have as much right to be in that speaking situation as the next person, that your voice deserves to be heard.
  • If someone interrupts you, calmly let them know you’re not finished speaking yet and then proceed to complete your thoughts, no matter how long it takes.

What do you think? Do you have anything to add?

 

 

PamEpisode 124 features Natalie Bragan who hails from Fairfield, Maine. Natalie works for the state of Maine as a managing accountant. She is also a member of the Maine Chapter of the NSA.

Natalie recently returned from her first National Stuttering Association conference. She discusses what it was like, describing the gamut of emotions from overwhelming to empowering.

Listen in as we also discuss covert stuttering, the road to confidence and acceptance and stuttering more in intimate situations. Natalie also shares about her home schooling experience, which gave her many opportunities to be covert.

This was a great conversation and a chance to relive conference moments through the eyes of a first time attendee. Feel free to leave comments or ask questions, as feedback is a gift.

The podcast safe music used in this episode is credited to ccMixter.

One of the most popular posts on this blog, the one that gets the most visitors, is a post titled Breathe In, Breathe Out, that I wrote on April 15, 2010. I think it’s so popular because people who stutter are often looking for techniques that can help to manage stuttering.

The program that focuses most on breathing is the McGuire program. This program stresses the use of costal breathing, where students are taught diaphragmatic breathing techniques. Graduates of the McGuire method practice breathing techniques daily in order for speaking to sound natural.

When I attended speech therapy a few years ago, one of the techniques that the student clinicians taught us was “full breath.” This was part of traditional fluency shaping therapy.

For me, I always found it difficult to concentrate on my breathing and trying to speak at the same time. Both are automatic, things I do without thinking. I breathe with ease. Sometimes I speak with ease, sometimes I struggle when I speak.

When I block, I can sometimes feel myself run out of air and feel breathless. That can be such a helpless, out-of-control feeling. But I still don’t want to take the time to stop and think about breathing and speaking on a full breath.

To me, breathing is just breathing and shouldn’t require extra, specific thought. I’m curious – what do you think?

 

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© Pamela A Mertz and Make Room For The Stuttering, 2009 - 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Pamela A Mertz and Make Room For The Stuttering with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Same protection applies to the podcasts linked to this blog, "Women Who Stutter: Our Stories" and "He Stutters: She Asks Him." Please give credit to owner/author Pamela A Mertz 2014.
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