Make Room For The Stuttering

Taking A Stand

Posted on: March 27, 2009

I have not decided on a name yet for my stuttering, but I am mulling over several. It has to be just right, because I really am having a relationship with my stuttering. Never thought that would happen. We have relationships with our partners, children, parents, so why not our stuttering? We spend an awful lot of time together.

But I want to share today about a really positive experience I had earlier in the week. I visited one of the special needs classes in my school this week, to spend some time with these students. They are not on my caseload, but they are students in the building and often get forgotten about. Sort of like, out of sight, out of mind. People walk by the classroom and just keep on going, not taking the time to stop in, wave or smile, even when these kids initiate it. I hate that when it comes to any differences, stuttering included, so I make it my business to stop by whenever I can.

We had decided to do a small group discussion on teasing and bullying, a concept these kids know well. As someone who stutters, I have shared with them that I used to be teased and made fun of when I was a kid, and still do sometimes as an adult. So I decided to read them the new book
“Stuttering Stan Takes a Stand”, by Artie Knapp. The book tells the tale of Stanley the squirrel and how his stuttering affects him and the people around him. It also touches on the universal themes of self-esteem, kindness and friendship. The story has an unlikely heroine, which tickled the kids.

I read the pages slowly and showed the pictures, leaving time for the kids to comment on the squirrels and other animal friends. I stuttered naturally and had some voluntary stuttering turn real. (Usually, that freaks me out a little!) The kids didn’t give a hoot that I was stuttering and I was very relaxed. They paid rapt attention and truly delighted in having a visitor read a good story to them. The teacher and assistant really enjoyed it too.

After finishing the story, everyone shared what they liked best about it. The resounding answers were “even bullies need friends” and “its sad when we get teased”. Out of the mouths of babes, huh? I still feel the warm feeling I had as I shared that afternoon with these special kids.

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© Pamela A Mertz and Make Room For The Stuttering, 2009 - 2017. 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 2017.