stammerheadshark * blog about living with an acquired neurogenic stammer

Speech Therapy Session 17.07.09

Posted on: July 19, 2009

A very odd session this week – well, anything had to be better than a speech session where all you do is write – as I had last week, thanks to my speech entirely disappearing and leaving me with not much more than a grunt. Useful.

Anyway I digress, this week’s session for the first time really concentrated on the “therapy” bit of speech therapy – it was more like a counselling session than anything else. I think the speech therapist has run out of ideas as to how to tackle it all for the time being and she seems to think that if we manage to deal with my feelings about the stammer, then it might be possible to have an impact of the stammer itself.

So she decided that even if no-one was able to help me currently, that working through how I could help myself further would be a good start. Here’s what happened…First off, she asked me to think of a heavily traumatic incident that I’d been through previously that I might draw a parallel between emotionally.

With that in mind, she then asked me to consider what personal qualities I had drawn upon to get myself through that situation and be able to continue with a normal life, with a view to being able to use those same “internal resources” to help me cope better with the stammer I’ve been left with.

Thinking about it, I chose to use my experience of becoming fostered at the age of 15 and the following spilled out of that:

  • Determination: – at the time, I was desperate not to be seen as a failure, to have let anyone down who’d looked out for me or to do anything that might be construed as me going-off-the-rails. It’s the same in this case. Breaking down in an emotional heap as expected just isn’t my style, and I find it completely unacceptable to let myself wallow in self pity. Talking it through to getting everything out your mind and get your head around the whole thing, that’s one thing – but crying for days on end, aside from being a complete waste of my time, is exhausting and self defeating.
  • Challenging stereotypes: – I was adamant that I wouldn’t just be another foster kid that people thought badly of, and with this I don’t want anyone to treat me like I’m stupid just because I stutter. Strangers do it all the time, they’re fine with me until I open my mouth and start stammering and then they get this look of pity on their face and start speaking really slowly to me. Idiots.
  • To feel like I have a purpose: – just as back then, I used studying for my GCSEs as an outlet to feel like I was achieving something worthwhile, having had the accident it’s been incredibly important to me to carry on working in spite of the communication difficulties presented with continuing in my job as a project manager at a web agency. I’m not going to lie, it’s been really tough but by staying at work throughout everything happening, I still feel useful, and that’s enough to make all the crap worthwhile – to know that in spite of it all I can still make a difference in some way.

I could go on, but quite frankly I’m all talked out for the tiime being.

The point is, even if everyone who is qualified to help me with this is struggling to do so, that it’s possible for me to find some of the support from within. I guess she was just getting me to step back from it all to realise that for myself.

Which is pretty nice really; not particularly useful in the scheme of things, but nice all the same.

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