Umm

I’ve not updated this blog in ages. I haven’t given up.

Often I can never think of anything to write. I have ideas and thoughts, but it often feels too abstract and can’t find the words to describe things.

I do plan on continuing this blog.

I might decide to blog about things other then stuttering. My life, career (or lack of) or just those thoughts that one rarely reveals to others.

We’ll see…

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Getting help for stuttering (part 4) – Adult Speech Therapy: Group Sessions

For part 1, click here.

For part 2, click here.

For part 3, click here.

The group sessions followed after I had finished the individual sessions. These were great. Naturally I was nervous at first but I understood everyone was. These sessions consisted of the two senior therapists (that includes the therapist I had for the individual sessions) and two students on work placements who are studying to become speech therapists themselves. And there were about 10 of us stammers but nobody else.

  • More relaxation techniques
  • Group discussion
  • Speaking out in front of the whole group
  • Exercise that involve small groups or pairs.

It was a real eye opener to meet many other people who also suffer from the same problems as me. Some people have similar problems to me, some stutter less, and others have a worse stutter. But it’s nice not to feel like a minority (a forgotten and neglected minority).

Before this, I have only known one person who previously has a stutter. But it still felt like we a one in a million. And it always feels like stammering is not acceptable in society (and it subject to ridicule and becoming an outcast). But now I feel like it’s okay to stutter.

Getting help for stuttering (part 3) – Adult Speech Therapy: Individual Sessions

For part 1, click here.

For part 2, click here.

My speech therapist uses two different types of therapy: individual and group sessions.

The individual sessions consist of several appointments, each being one hour long. Since it’s been about 14 years (and I was about 7 or 8 years old) when I last went to speech therapy, and I’ve forgotten everything from then, I’ve had to start from the beginning. It included things like:

  • Breathing exercises
  • Identifying and reducing stress
  • Relaxation
  • Thoughts, behaviours and over-thinking
  • Identifying my stutter
  • Avoidance
  • How sounds are made
  • Speech pronunciation

The therapy was brilliant and l learned loads of great techniques to help with everyday speaking. I also learned a lot about my stutter, how it affects my behaviour, and how I need to change my behaviours to reduce stuttering. I was amazed to find out that not breathing properly makes my stutter a lot worse.

When children have a stutter, then there’s a chance they will be able to overcome it as they grow up. But with adults, it’s often the case that stammering is here to stay. And because of this, adult speech therapy is almost all about being able to cope with stutter (instead of overcoming the stutter).

If you have never been to speech therapy since you were a child, then I recommend you go talk to a therapist. Because as a child, life is a little more predictable and it’s easier to avoid talking with strangers. But as an adult, I find myself having to talk to different people and face nervous situations (like the job interviews I mentioned earlier) on a more regular basis.

Being able to talk to someone who understands that my stammer is now a part of me and here to stay was a like breath of fresh air. I was able to talk to her about all the times when my stammer is worse and when I it holds me back. We talked and practiced methods to reduce tension and stress. And instead of trying to hide away from my stammer (and the world), I can now accept I have a stutter, and deal with whatever comes my way.

Getting help for stuttering (part 2)

 For part 1, click here.

When I was at school, I was good at pretending that I didn’t have a stutter or that it won’t affect my life in any way. In reality it was different. The life of essays, coursework and exams didn’t require much human interaction to succeed.

It was when I finished education that it dawned on me that I really needed to get help for my stutter or I might just withdraw completely from society.  So my main reason for finding help was to help my confidence with talking to other people. This was particularly important when applying for jobs where a little confidence and a little more fluency can make all the difference. Improved confidence in me would also help raise my self-esteem.

As anyone with a stammer knows, asking for help can feel like the hardest thing in the World. So I did the natural thing and thought of a way of getting help that had the least amount talking and I went on the internet.

I decided to look up the NHS to see what help they were offering for adult stutterers. I then learned about the BSA or “British Stammering Association”, which is a charity dedicated in helping those with speech impediments. I requested a free information pack that included load of information about stammering and how to get help for it.

The pack detailed that the NHS has speech therapists and that I need to get a GP referral. So I went to my doctors and told him that I wish to get help for my stutter and he referred me to the nearest therapist.

I got a telephone call from the therapist to arrange an appointment and that was the start of a course of speech therapy for adults.

The worst thing about job hunting

The absolute worst thing about job hunting is the lack of replies from recruiters. And I do get replies, it’s always the same “not enough experience”. Maybe it’s true but I think that sometimes it’s just the lazy response because they can’t be bothered to give proper structured feedback. The sort of feedback that could help me in future application is nowhere to be found these days. And so the perpetual not knowing why I didn’t get the job persists.

Let others speak for a change

Something that really annoys me is when some individuals are not willing to let others speak.

When I’m at a social gathering, there’s always a bunch of people who dominate every single conversation that it feels like I’m eavesdropping on their private conversation. I dare not say anything as I feel I would be interrupting them.

But after 45 minutes of non-stop rambling, somebody has the audacity to say to me, “You don’t say much”, or, “You’re very quiet”. He/she wouldn’t even shut up for a few seconds to let me speak. For almost an hour they were pretending that I don’t exist even though I was sitting right next to them. It’s these people that really get on my nerves. I don’t let it bother me as their conversations are usually about boring unimportant stuff anyway.

The next thing is they don’t like it when I refuse to attend the next social gathering. I guess this is why I prefer having fewer but close friends as to many I have no common interest with.

Job hunting :(

As you might already know, I am a graduate looking for a full time job. I graduated almost 5 years ago and I have still to land a permanent full-time job. I have had temporary word and voluntary work but neither has helped me get permanent paid work. Right now I am doing the same part-time job I’ve been doing since 2008 but that is only a Saturday job and it’s only five and a half hours’ worth of paid work.

Part of the problem is that I refuse to do customer facing or call centre work. I don’t want to start a new job and then asked to leave because my stutter gets in the way. And the anxiety of putting me in those situations, which could include difficult and rude customers, might make my stutter worse.

And besides, my strengths are with problem solving, computing and number crunching. People skills are a big weakness for me. I guess that is the natural consequence of being a shy introvert with a stutter. Having said that, I do enjoy working in a team and my current work colleagues have become good friends of mine.

The main types of jobs that I am currently looking for include: IT support, programmer, data entry and administrator. Or I’ll apply for any job that I believe I can do and I have a real chance of landing. Right now I’ll take part-time and temporary work and even voluntary work.

I still get the occasional interview, but not too many. I’ve only had 2 interviews (and a typing test) this year. And I’ve had no luck in any of them. And the lack of proper feedback from both interviews means I don’t really know why didn’t get the job.