stammerheadshark * blog about living with an acquired neurogenic stammer

From the mouths of babes…

Posted on: August 27, 2009

…the truth flows, so they say.

The point I’m trying to make is that children are more perceptive of what’s going on around them than the realities adults choose to face up to.

The reality in this case is that kids will make it pretty apparent that they’re aware of my stutter, ask forthright questions about stamering that adults would never dream of doing.

They’d rather just pretend it wasn’t there. And keep telling me that it’s all going to go away. That I’ll have normal speech again. Whether they’re just hopeful or delusional, I think they seriously need a chat with my speech therapists to bring them back down to earth and realise that injuries aren’t always so easy to fix. Brain injuries are even harder.

This rambling post mostly stems out of my appreciation that my niece and nephew take me and my stutter at face value with no pretences, and the sad realisation yesterday that given their ages (just 5 and 2 years old) although they currently remember when “Auntie Jo could talk properly”, that when they’re  older they won’t have any memory of it at all.

I find that really upsetting. For them I’m never going to be anything other than someone with a severe stutter that they need to explain away to their friends (as my niece currently does). They won’t recall the fact that I used to be able to sing silly songs with them.

And they won’t remember that I used to be able to tell them off when they were naughty, as now the message kind of gets lost in my trying to relay it. It’s hard for someone to take you seriously when it takes five minutes to get the words out – I don’t blame them – I’d get lost too!

I know it sounds strange, but for the people who matter, I need them to be able to remember that I wasn’t always like this. I need them to remember so I can hold on to (however loosely) the notion that once my speech was normal, that the stammer didn’t always identify me. That I was something more.

That I was someone that kids didn’t laugh at, who adults didn’t hang up on, who people didn’t screw their faces up at when I try to talk to them, and who was recognised by their friends and colleagues as being intelligent and eloquent rather than a social burden.

That might sound a little extreme but until you see or hear it in people’s faces and voices daily, the obvious irritation that they’re having to deal with you, why they’re not able to communicate with someone else who can speak properly, then you might have an indication of what it’s like to live with this stammer and not be perceived as being normal anymore.

It’s just sad that people aren’t more tolerant. I don’t see myself as disabled, why should they?

1 Response to "From the mouths of babes…"

who was recognised by their friends and colleagues as being intelligent and eloquent rather than a social burden:

Love you

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