It was an honour to speak at the Speech Pathology Australia (SPA) QLD Annual General Meeting last night. Thank you to Marion Giddy and Shaun Ziegenfusz (and everyone else involved) for organising and I look forward to continued engagement with SPA QLD and the ASEA.
I screamed and covered my ears. My inside voice was always telling me what to do, and more importantly what not to do. Don’t wear that shirt because people might not like it. Don’t speak up because people might hear you stutter. I didn’t want to hear that inside voice any longer. It was physically and mentally exhausting.
One day, it happened.
I don’t know when it happened. I don’t know how it happened. I don’t remember the day, the week, the month, or even the year that it happened.
The moment I stopped caring what other people thought about every aspect of my life was a moment of relief, joy, acceptance. That moment I left my house not worrying about what I was wearing and if it was acceptable to society. That moment I started speaking freely not worrying what someone would think if they heard me stutter. That moment, I felt free to be me.
I was recently invited to speak to high school students who stutter. Details of the program are below.
Speech-Language Pathologists from the North Coast Region of the Department of Education conducted an intensive fluency program for adolescents who stutter in the second week of the 2019 September/October school holidays. The program was attended by 10 students from 12 to 16 years of age and ran for 4 full days at Maroochydore State School. The students reported benefits in their speech but also their confidence and self-concept, and valued meeting other teenagers who stutter and making new friends. It also provided a valuable training opportunity for 10 University of Queensland Speech Pathology Students who assisted throughout the week.