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.