This article was originally published in the summer 2012 issue of CSA Voices.
With all the interest in the film The King’s Speech last year, I was reminded of when I lived in London from 1969 to 1971. I was studying voice, and to support myself I copied music for a publisher. I worked at home and listened to the BBC constantly to keep me company. Struggling as I was with my own stuttering, I was heartened to hear several regular contributors to the BBC who openly stuttered, (usually mildly) – or stammered, as the British call it.
This article was first printed in the Summer 2012 issue of CSA Voices
Wayne Lyrette is a man of words, and he uses them to tell us what he is thinking, how he is feeling, and what his hopes are for himself and the world around him. And he expresses them through speaking, writing, running and song.
He is a husband, father, musician and a person who stutters. Anyone who has heard Wayne perform is impressed by his song-writing ability …he has been playing regularly at Whispers, a west-end Ottawa pub, at the open mic night on Mondays, and has had a great response from the usual packed house.
At sixteen, when applying for my first job, l was told by an employment officer that due to my stuttering, I would never be employed, never have a social life, never be married and never have children. He could not have been more wrong. It was never easy, though. I tried every company in my own home town and when I did not find any employment there, I tried every company in an ever widening circle. Finally I secured a position as an apprentice draftsperson, 10 kilometers from my home town.
Stuttering. Is it an ability in disguise? Or is it a disability? Does being female affect the perception of stuttering?
As a child I considered my speech problem a disability. It set me apart from all the other ‘normal’ kids – kids who spoke with vigour to their friends about summer vacations and fun things they did on weekends. Kids who laughed and made fun of me until I was in tears, simply because I spoke differently from them. They didn’t stop and think that they, too, probably have some kind of disability or “weakness”.
During a meeting of the Canadian Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists in St. John's, Newfoundland, Cecil Hare, a traffic reporter for a radio station in that city, told the story of how he grew up with a severe stutter, and how it affects his life today. Growing up in Corner Brook, Newfoundland in the 1970s, there was no access to speech therapy or education about the problem. Cecil shares his story with the CBC here. You can also view a video of his speech.
For about as long as I can remember I have been a person that stutters. As a young boy my parents thought nothing of my stutter. They thought that, if anything, it would be something I would outgrow with time. When I entered school, my teachers right away identified that I had a stutter, and it was recommended that I take speech therapy, which I did, at the young age of five.