Make Room For The Stuttering

Don’t Quit – Episode 72

Posted on: November 7, 2011

Episode 72 features Janet Lennon, who hails from County Laois, Ireland (which is just about an hour from Dublin.) Janet is 25 years old and works with young children in a playschool.

We “met” through a mutual friend on an on-line stuttering support group.

Janet has stammered since she was about 4 years old. Her parents got her involved in speech therapy at a young age. In 2008, Janet found the McGuire program and also found renewed confidence.

Listen is as we cover a lot of ground in this great episode. We chat about the support and encouragement Janet found in the McGuire program, working with children and the importance of having non-judgmental support systems.

Janet joined Toastmasters in 2010, so we have that in common and chat quite a bit about that. It never ceases to amaze me how universal Toastmasters is. We can be in different parts of the world and know exactly what we are both referring to!

Janet also talks about an article she was featured in about finding her voice and shares the encouragement and inspiration she has felt from this poem called “Don’t Quit.”

Music in this episode is credited to ccMixter. Please be sure to leave comments if you wish for Janet (or me.) Remember, feedback is a gift.

25 Responses to "Don’t Quit – Episode 72"

Ha! I just realized that I didn’t do such a good job with the opening music in this episode. I have the music playing at the same time as I begin talking to introduce the episode. Oh well . . . . . that’s the beauty of amateur podcasting. Mistakes make them so authentic, and all the more appealing, right?

haha dont worry bout it

Well done,Janet!Olga from Mcguire course

An argument in semantics Pamela. Your blog is entitled “Women who stutter”. So if you stopped stuttering, would you feel you were losing part of your identity?

Hmmmm . . . . good question Rob!
Actually, my blog is called Make Room For The Stuttering. I do that, make room for the stuttering in my life. Where for many years, I did not – I hid it, denied it, hated it, allowed it to consume me, define me, and to some extent, control me.

The podcast, which is a segway off the blog, is called “Women Who Stutter: Our Stories”. I decided to do this, with encouragement from a male who stutters and fellow podcaster, because women who stutter are a minority, and are rarely heard from. Most of the stuttering role models, visible, “famous” (if we can call them that, as they don’t stutter anymore) are men. Like James Earl Jones, John Stoessel, Stuttering John Melendez, Bruce Willis, Jack Welch, and men from history, Winston Churchill and King George. You rarely hear from women – or if we do, they don’t stutter anymore: Emily Blunt, Carly Simon, etc.

We never hear from ordinary people who stutter, and particularly women. I also have an occasional series on here featuring men who stutter too. Look for He Stutters: She Asks Him.

As for your original question, yes, I think part of my identity would slip away if I suddenly didn’t stutter any more. Sure, that sounds corny, but it has been with me for a long time, and has shaped who I was and who I am now. After all is said and done, and after all the silence, shame and heartache, I have learned so much about what being true to self really means. I am OK with who I am, and stuttering happens to be part of my equation.

I don’t think I would recognize myself without stuttering. It has helped me evolve into who I am today. Sure, it would have been a hell of a lot easier without stuttering, but the things I have learned about myself are priceless. And I am still learning every day.

Blogging and doing these podcasts are part of that learning.

Stuttering makes you stronger….I love that! Janet you did a very awesome job and Finally I can put your face together with a voice. I never thought that stuttering would make someone stronger til I heard it outloud from another person who stutters. Now it makes sense to me. We get teased while young and then grow up having to struggle with what comes with stuttering. I hope to talk to you one day soon. You are very soft spoken too. You sound so sweet lol. I need to get Skype! I really loved listening to you and now I have an Irish accent stuck in my head lol and talking to my grandkids with an Irish accent lol! I love it! You are awesome Janet! Great job!

I had the pleasure of talking with Janet on Skype via Stuttering Arena and i must say she has been very inspiring and helping indeed.
Thanks for the gr8 episode Janet and Pam…

Hi Janet,

It was great to hear your story. You expressed yourself in such an articulate and confident manner. You have certainly come a long way since we first chatted in 2008.

Incidentally, I was featured in a podcast earlier this year, so I know what it’s like to be interrogated by Pam.:-)

I wish you continued success with your involvement in Toastmasters. I’ve really enjoyed listening to your previous speech assignments. If you wish to rehearse your next speech, please don’t hesitate to let me know.

I look forward to chatting with you soon.

Kindest regards

Alan Badmington

Interrogated! Oh my! And here I thought I was a rather nice conversational partner.

I better watch myself, lest I start getting a bad reputation!


Hi Pam,

You know I was only joking. 🙂

It was a privilege and a pleasure to be the first male featured in your “He Stutters” podcasts (in June of this year). What I particularly enjoyed about the experience was YOUR style of interviewing. Neither of us knew which direction the exchanges would travel. As the agenda was not set beforehand – nothing was rehearsed. It simply went with the flow, influenced by whatever surfaced during our conversation.

In my opinion, such spontaneity creates a more natural and interesting interview. You have developed impressive skills, as well as a unique and successful format.

I was especially delighted to listen to Janet’s story because I have chatted/corresponded with her on many occasions during the past few years. She has blossomed immensely.

Kindest regards


Great to hear Janet’s story. I too once had the opportunity to Skype with her via Stuttering Arena. Janet is inspiring and so is your podcast Pam

Warm Regards

Thanks Shorn. Spread the word for me. Maybe sometime you’d like to be a guest on the very rare male episodes I do as well, under the title, “He Stutters: She Asks Him”.
I am a big believer in hearing from “regular” folks like us, not famous people who don’t stutter anymore.
Real people dealing with stuttering every day, and succeeding, in our own ways, is very inspiring.

Thanks Pammy. Would surely love to do it one day in future. I will be here around

Well I must say it was great to listen to and rather inspirational and of course it highlights the basic message for all the stammerers across the world- DON’T QUIT.

Well done Janet Lennon and Pamela Mertz! Way to go !!

I just done listening to episode. you sounds nice and confident janet..keep doing the good work..:)
i talked with 2-3 mcquires over skype. All of you sounds great and confident .
yes,stuttering makes us stronger person.
keep doing the great work pam..
kudos to both of you :):)
Best greetings 🙂

Pamela, you have a great blog! I like your interviews. The interview with Janet was nice to hear. We are the future for our national stutterassociation and the ELSA. Janet has guts and I like that. She has used her voice to tell her story.

Thank you, Pamela and Janet for the podcast. I really admire both of you. Your open and honest dialogue was very refreshing and informative about the life of a younger stutterer(or stammerer.) 🙂

I am a male stutterer in my fifties. I am also a member of the “Stuttering Arena” on Facebook. Unlike both of you, I have put up invisible walls around me and have tried to break down those walls. Those that laugh at me when I stutter, I just walk away as I choose to be non-confrontive. Much of the time, I just put on this happy face that hides the depression inside due to a life of rejection and loneliness.

My stuttering is primarily situational as I don’t stutter on the phone or reading from text. My brain just doesn’t function well as I search for answers in face to face communication so I stutter, not knowing how to answer with an appropriate response. I have no problem speaking into my own webcam. I cannot “Skype” due to my slow connection and slow processor.

I apologize for writing too much about myself.

Many thanks Pam for another great interview!! Wow Janet – well done and congratulations!! Your speech was so controlled and I really envy your pausing – you are so strong (considering the amount of time on McGuire) in that you are already involved in Toastmasters and have done an interview with the local paper and now the interview with Pam – you are a real inspiration for others to follow and should be very proud of yourself!! Looking forward to meeting you in February in Dublin – that will be my first course in a long time – I’m a course veteran at this stage! Well done again!!

Tks for sharing Janet. I have heard about the MsGuire program and how it boosts confidence. Always great to hear from another person who stutters.

Girls, this was amazing!!!
You’re two really inspiring women!!!!
And not only that! Pam, you’re a wonderful interviewer! And Janet, you’re a great interviewee! =)
I really loved this interview. Thank you so much for this!!!!

Listening to all these podcasts so far, I’ve come to realize that people who stutter in general are a lot more determined, hardworking and very well grounded as compared to our fluent counterparts! Hearing the confidence and sense of assertiveness in Janet’s voice definitely portrays all of the above characteristics.

Very good episode!

It’s about time you squeeze in a podcast featuring a guy Pam! Don’t you think? 😉

Oh my sly friend! Glad you are enjoying these episodes! remember, I stick mostly to the Women’s Stories because we are a “minority within the minority” and this has become a unique and special place for women to share.

But because of so many fans like yourself, there is room for the occasional male story. I have a session scheduled for this weekend with a young male from Mexico, looking forward to that. And another woman’s story is pending.

Don’t worry – you will be a very special guest soon! 🙂

Sounds great! 🙂

Hi all,
I have known Janet for some time, we attend the same support group, Janet has worked really hard on her verbal communication, her progress has inspired many including myself, Janet has and continues to be a role modle for all of us who know her.

Speak soon,
Michael O shea.

Thanks Michael, only seeing your comment now . . see u in january and ill speak to u soon

Janet 🙂

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© Pamela A Mertz and Make Room For The Stuttering, 2009 - 2022. 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 2022.
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