Speak your mind – without the fear of stuttering!

Bruce fans, please allow me this one non-Bruce post!

Or maybe it is not a non-Bruce post, as it has a lot to do with changing your life if you are not satisfied with it.

And with perseverance and lots of hard word.

Things we all know are important parts of the Springsteen magic we all love.

So please allow me this little ode to my brave son:

Most of us often find it difficult to speak our mind, even without having a stuttering problem. Communication at best is no easy thing.

On International Stuttering awareness I have asked my internet friends to  think of the stutterers they know.

And to take a moment to salute them.

As the mother of a stutterer I have come to the conclusion that stuttering is one of the most humiliating things there is.

It can reduce a highly intelligent adult to a pathetic bundle of misery in a moment.

 What it can do to a teenager who are already struggling with life, I cannot bear to think about.

 That is why I think stutterers are some of the bravest people on earth.

 During the years that I searched for help for my son, I came to one conclusion: There is no instant cure.

 There was a time when my lovely, intelligent and talented son believed he would never be able to do anything of importance with his life, because he could not speak fluently.

 Any mother will understand about the nights that I have spent crying and praying.

 And then it happened: On a day in 2006 (I wish I had the exact date) I was with my husband in his office, searching the internet once again, on the lookout for something that might help our son.

And then I found the McGuire Foundation. When my husband turned to me, I was in tears. Tears of joy, because I immediately realized here is something special. No instant cure is offered, no gadgets are involved.


This was the start of one of the loveliest things in my life (and there are quite a few).

No, he did not stop stuttering immediately. He still sometimes stutter and will always have to live with it. BUT now he can handle it.

 He changed from somebody who hid from life into somebody who faces life head-on.

 That winter on our roadtrip through our country (South Africa) my son, who had always avoided speaking to strangers, was the one who organized our stay at every stop.

 Back in his hostel at university he immediately stood for the House Committee.

Two years later he (still a student) addressed an international conference on the subject he was studying.

On the photograph his friend took that day, he is standing in front of the podium – NOT hiding behind it, as most fluent public speakers do.

That photo is symbolic of the change in his attitude. He is not hiding anymore.

 With that trip he landed himself a wonderful job at an international research institution. He found his feet in a foreign country with a foreign culture. He learned the language. He made friends. He is living a happy life and doing well in his job.

No, I am not merely another mother bragging with her brilliant child.

 I write this for those stutterers out there who see no hope in their future. For those who have lost faith. For those who are hiding (either from situations or from certain words and sounds).

 I want to tell you that a rich, full life is possible for a stutterer.

 My son is still a stutterer, but a RECOVERING stutterer.

For him McGuire has done it.

They can do it for you. If you are willing to work hard and persevere.

Or maybe you find their approach is not suited to you.

 It does not matter.

 What matters is that YOU MUST NEVER GIVE UP.

 Because there is hope for you.


4 thoughts on “Speak your mind – without the fear of stuttering!

  1. [In his later years he focused on] training stutterers to be conscious of the inappropriateness of the language they tended to use in talking about their problem…individuals who came for treatment were taught to examine carefully what they meant when they referred to themselves as “stutterers,” as though assuming that there was something about them that marked them as basically different from other people, or when they referred to what they did when they talked as their “stuttering” or “it” as though their problem was not what they did when they talked, but a think inside of them that they needed to manage, stop, or control.

  2. Hello Alta,
    What an enlightening post! Thank you for sharing your personal and challenging journey. Your son sounds like a lovely young man, and I am so happy that you found the McGuire Foundation – to be able to have a voice and not have the fear of making that voice heard is absolutely priceless.

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