My Stammering Journey
My name is Stephen Hill, I live in Torquay, Devon. My parents, brother, and sister all speak fluently; therefore, it was somewhat of a shock for everyone when I developed a stammer at the age of four.
The stammer certainly tried its best to ruin my childhood, and there were many dark moments and periods where I wished things were different. At the age of twenty-two, I decided that enough was enough. I was eager to find a solution that would enable me to speak freely, and rid myself from the fear of stammering. From the outset, I involved my family. I explained to them that I was hoping to achieve fluency, and they agreed to help me in any way that they could.
My journey had begun. I started by observing people who I thought were “excellent speakers” – people such as politicians, actors and others who regularly appeared on TV. I studied them closely to try and work out the difference between how they were speaking, and how I was.
I took notes and made sure I wrote down the all most important differences which I discovered over a period of about two months. I then tried to incorporate these aspects—which I now call the “speech rules”, into my own speech.
My progress was quite slow at first, which I found somewhat frustrating. My family were quick to reassure me and were on hand to make sure that I never gave up. They were the people who I spent the majority of my time practicing with and I really appreciate the support they gave me.
Sometimes, I would practice saying simple phrases and my family would ask me basic questions such as “What is your name?” And “What is your address?” and sometimes I would read out paragraphs from a book. After a while, I became very good at these forms of practice, so I moved on to tasks I considered to be rather more difficult; tasks such as ordering a drink in a bar and using the telephone to make calls.
It took me around twelve months to overcome my stammer, the hard work had paid off and I was incredibly please and proud to have reached my personal goal. Experts were so surprised that I had managed such exceptional success that the UK news featured me on the BBC: Read the BBC Article here.
Sometimes it helps to understand how others notice the change in us as we grow and learn. I asked some of my friends and family how overcoming my stammer had affected our relationships. I was really surprised at the difference they saw in me, it was much more than relief that I could get my words out. Hearing these words has really spurred me on to reach out to others.
I have to say that it was heart-breaking hearing Steve stammer and to see the frustration in his eyes. We tried everything possible when he was growing up to help him to eradicate the stammer, such as taking him to speech and language therapy. Unfortunately, his stammer became more severe the older he became despite attending speech therapy.
I was very pleased that he never gave up hope and am incredibly proud that he developed his own techniques that eventually led him to achieve fluency.
Apart from being able to talk free from stammering the main difference that I would say that I have noticed is that Steve is now content. What I mean by that is that he is now so much more relaxed about everything and takes everything in his stride. He is at one with the world; nothing now seems to phase him. It is a delight to see.
Steve has asked me to write a few notes as to the differences I have noticed since he overcame the stammer. All I can really say is that he is now a completely different person to what he was when he had the speech impediment. It is like chalk and cheese. There are not one or two differences; he is an entirely new person. The stammer clearly stopped him from being able to be his true self.
It is great to finally meet the real Steve Hill! And to see him so happy and confident.
I feel like joking by saying that I preferred Steve when he had a stammer, as he was so quiet back then, but that would be rather cruel, even if stated in jest. Steve would; however, probably see the funny side. But in a way that does answer the question to the difference that overcoming the stammer has made to his life. He has gone from the quiet, shy character that he had, to be somebody that seemingly never shuts up! It is great to see and hear, and none of us is complaining.
I am so proud of my younger brother. The amount of work he put in to overcome the stammer was incredible. He has now become so much more relaxed and way more sociable than when he had the stammer.
I have known Steve since we were both toddlers, and it is like I have known two different versions of the same person. The Steve that had a stammer did not want to mix with other people, was extremely happy being on his own, and was basically a very quiet person. Now that Steve has managed to stop stammering it is like he is making up for lost time, he is very much the life and soul of the party, and he has a constant smile on his face. It is wonderful to see!
I have known Steve as a person that has a stammer, and now as a person that has overcome a stammer. He has always had the determination and a positive attitude, but what he now has is freedom. It was like he was being strangled or shackled by the stammer. Now he is able to show his real character, and I can see just how happy this enabled him to be.
Fast forward to 2020…
Following my personal success, I begun to help other people to achieve fluency. I am passionate about helping others and I want to continue to help as many people as I can. So, in order to reach as many people as possible, I developed a programme called Stammering Solved.
Stammering Solved offers you a selection of assisted, and self-help stammering therapy products, it is aimed at people who wish to help themselves overcome their stammer at their own pace.
Do you need Stammering Help?
Book a Stammering Course
If you are struggling to live with your stammer, or would like to help someone who is then perhaps we can help. We suggest you try our 3 day course, the course is offered on an individual basis and during the course you will learn and practise the tried and tested techniques that Stephen Hill developed when overcoming his own stammering issues. The price for the 3 day course is £445.