Stuttering And Stumbling
Posted March 20, 2015on:
This morning I was involved in interviewing high school students for a competitive, accelerated health and scientific research program for next school year. The teacher and I had a standard list of questions that we were asking all of the candidates.
These students are juniors in high school and most of them were quite nervous.
We asked questions geared to discover whether the students would be a good fit for a demanding, rigorous year-long program that requires a lot of reading, writing and public speaking.
One of the candidates shared that she is very shy and one of her weak areas is “talking out loud in front of people.” She went on to say that when she does, she often finds herself stuttering and stumbling and feeling embarrassed.
I mentioned to her that many people have a fear of public speaking and that practice is key. The teacher commented that I probably had a lot more to share on that. She knows I stutter.
So that opened the door for me to share with the student that I stutter, but I don’t let it stop me from public speaking. I shared with her about my involvement with Toastmasters and my years of practicing and honing my communication skills.
I could see the student visibly relax as I briefly shared with her about this.
After her interview was complete and she had left, the teacher and I talked about perhaps me coming into her class sometime and doing a presentation on stuttering, as it’s a fascinating subject that has research implications and the students spend a significant amount of time in this class on research.
We talked about genetics and the different brain studies that have been done. I was already beginning to flesh out in my mind what such a presentation to accelerated high school seniors would look like. We agreed to schedule a date for me to present in May. I’m going to try to make it during National Stuttering Awareness Week.
You never know when you might get a chance to talk about stuttering, so be ready!