Friday, October 22, 2010

Do you know what today is?

Repost from this date last year...

October 22nd is International Stuttering Awareness Day.

If you didn't know, that's o.k. I wouldn't have known if the leader of the stuttering support group my son attends hadn't put out an e-mail.

There are a lot of things I didn't, and still don't, know about stuttering. But, I am not alone because there is a lot that the experts don't know about stuttering either.

What I do know, is that *I* cannot fix it for him. I can help him get the tools he needs. We can be patient and be his advocate. We discovered that many speech therapists have limited experience with disfluency. We learned that each therapist had a different belief about why J stutters. The most important thing we all learned is that therapy isn't about "fixing" the stutter, it is about J becoming comfortable enough in who he is so that the stutter does not stop him from doing things like participating in class or placing his own order at McDonald's. Chris Heximer, the Clinic Superviser At Buffalo State is responsible for teaching us this incredible lesson. Thank You, Chris!

Like any mom, I worry about my son. I cannot protect him from people who are trying to help but instead hinder. (Thrusting a pad of paper and pen at someone because you're too impatient to wait is so uncool.) I try to educate people about stuttering without being hyper-confrontational. My husband is great about going to open house night at school and touching base with the teachers. (Please don't think you're doing my kid a favor by NOT calling on him...that just ticks him off.)

And, because I am who I am, I pray. Do I pray that he would be fluent? Yes. But I also recognize that this is a part of who J is and while I want him to be able to comfortably communicate with people, I understand that God made him this way and it can be used for good.

I'm not comparing my son to Moses, but many believe that Moses stuttered ... There is a great Ginny Owens song called I Am that talks, in one verse, about God calling Moses and I get teary when I hear it. "Oh Lord, he said, you've got the wrong guy. Simple conversation gets me tongue tied. And you're telling me to speak to a maniac king, could it be I've lost my mind...That's not your problem, God replied, and the rest is history. There's a bigger picture you can't see. You don't have to change the world, just trust in me. 'Cuz I am your creator, I am working out my plan. And through you I will show them, I Am.")

I Love that. Not because I think my kid is going to be leading anyone out of Egypt, (although I heard that he did a good job helping his group find their way around NOLA this summer). I love it because the artist emphasizes that we don't know God's plan but we do need to listen to God's call. And, while people might not always respond the way we (or God) would want them to, it's all good. God is able to work through (or around) our humanity, to carry out his great plan. Moreover, God created each of us, so while some things might be seen as disabilities, God has a plan. What will we learn or teach someone through what others might see as our disabilities and weaknesses? And how will we use the gifts God gave us to be His hands and feet in this world?

In closing..a few pointers for you to remember if and when you are speaking with someone who stutters...maintain eye contact, don't try to finish their sentences and be patient. You might learn something.

-Peace and Blessings

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for posting this, Stacey. John has been a stutterer all his life and has learned very well to cope...much of his job revolves around making presentations and public speaking, and everyone tells him how AWESOME he is at it! We're noticing it a lot in Sam, too, now, but no worries! We're taking it as it comes.