Stuttering. For many that word creates immense fear and stress. Fear and stress for the one God-given talent that separates the human race from the animal kingdom. That talent or ability is: SPEECH. The ability to verbally communicate what you are thinking, what you need, what you believe. I happen to have a passion for helping people who stutter. Through this work, I have come to understand that free, open and unhindered speech is a gift that should be cherished.
The inability to speak freely doesn’t just happen to people who stutter. Think about humans who experience stroke or head injury, or have cancer of the tongue. They experience the inability to speak as well. It is crippling.
When Kirk Douglas took the stage at the AcademyAwards in February, I would imagine that many in the audience cringed as he spoke maybe even feeling embarrassed for him. I can imagine that those watching by television may have thought “Why would they put him on stage? He can barely talk!” You have no idea what an accomplishment that was for him, his family and his therapists! They were most assuredly CELEBRATING his achievement! Producing meaningful speech after a stroke is a true accomplishment. What a gift.
I write this blog because as a supporter and advocate for people who stutter, I have become very sensitive to the gift of speech. I have learned that helping people become more effective communicators is much bigger than I am. It requires knowledge, encouragement, love and acceptance to develop. If you can express yourself verbally, take a minute to be still, fold your hands and look upwards giving a heartfelt thank you for this wondrous ability.