My Stuttering Episode on the “It Starts with Action” Podcast!

Being a part of a podcast has been something that I have always wanted to do in life, however, due to my Stutter, I always thought that this dream was out of my reach, but now I have proved myself wrong! This week I starred in an episode of the “It Starts with Action” podcast, where I talk about a large array of different things, and is going to be what today’s blog is about!

So without further ado,

Hello and Welcome to Sweeney’s Blogs!

Read more

Stuttering in Mainstream Media – Blog 5: The Printer Theory

How can you compare Stuttering to a printer? How can people understand a stutter if they haven’t got one themselves? How can learning about a stutter help treat it? I hope to answer these questions in today’s blog all about a Stuttering Theory I created myself.

Hello and Welcome to Sweeney’s Blogs!

Today’s blog is going to be the fifth blog in the Stuttering in Mainstream Media series and is going to be about The Printer Theory, a theory that I myself created to help visualise what living with a stutter is actually like. The theory itself can be interpreted in a number of different ways so if you interpret it a different way to how I am saying it that is more than fine.

I created The Printer Theory when I was asked to describe what living with a stutter is like to a few of my University friends this year. I had rarely been asked what living with a stutter was like before going to university so I didn’t have an answer ready at the time. This is when I decided to improvise and came up with The Printer Theory. Even though the theory doesn’t cover all aspects of life with a stutter I still think that it is a good place to start.

The first part of The Printer Theory is about the type of stutter where you just cannot get the words out, no matter how hard you try. So let’s say you have a document on the computer that you want to print out. You do all the normal things such as going to options, selecting print and then waiting for the printer to print the document out. Your document starts printing and then you get a paper jam in the printer.

If you have a paper jam then sending another twenty documents to the printer will not do anything, it will just put more pressure on the CPU of the computer and will affect the interrupts happening to the computer which will slow it down. Sending more documents to the computer will do nothing to help the actual problem which is the paper jam. This can easily be related to having a conversation with a person who has a stutter. If they are stuck on a particular word then asking them 20 more questions will do nothing to help them, it will just stress them out and might even lead to them stuttering more.

To fix a paper jam in the printer you would slowly find out the problem and then try a few ways to resolve it. Forcing the paper out when you have a paper jam will not help the issue, this is the exact same as dealing with a stutter. If someone who you are having a conversation with gets stuck on a word then you definitely should not try to force them to speak, they are trying they just cannot get the words out. What you need to do is simple.

The first step to helping someone who cannot get the words out is to actually realise that they are stuck on a word. If you recognise that someone is struggling then it makes it easier for you to understand and easier for them to get over it. The next step is to try a few different solutions. The first solution I recommend is maybe rewording the question that you asked them. Usually, if a person is simply stuck on one word then if you reword the question they will not even have to try and say it. There are lots of other techniques you can try if this doesn’t work but the key is to be patient, do not rush someone with a stutter as that will help no one.

One of the next links that a stutter has to a printer is when it comes to the order of entities. When you print something out, it is printed in a set order, this is the exact same as the way we speak. If the pages were printed in a random order then we would have to spend a lot of time simply working out the order of the pages and then what they are actually trying to tell us, this works the same with how we speak. We form sentences in a way that they are easy to understand and our words are in a logical order.

Just because a printer may take a long time to print out a particular page, it doesn’t mean that you write it out to try to beat the printer. If a printer was taking a while to print something out then you would wait patiently until it was finished, this links perfectly with a stutter. If a person is taking a while to say a particular word, sentence it does not give you the right to try and speak for them or just rush them into finishing. Rushing someone to speak when they have a stutter severely lowers their self-confidence and leads them to feel more embarrassed when they do eventually stutter.

This links in well to one of the main problems I have when speaking to people when they know that I have a stutter. Most people who do not have a stutter or who haven’t been close to someone who has a stutter think that finishing sentences for people who are struggling helps them out, it actually makes us feel useless. What people don’t actually think about, and this is not a criticism to people, it is just a fact, is that when we are stuttering we are trying really hard to get the words out. If you just jump in and finish the sentence for them, even if you do it with good intentions, then it makes us feel worthless. This paragraph is not meant to be having a go at anyone it is simply explaining something that most people don’t usually think of.

As you can see from the blog above there are lots of different links you can make between a printer and a person who stutters. There are indeed a lot more links that you can find but I have explained the main ones that I wanted to talk about in this blog. If you do find anymore and want to talk them through feel free to send me a message, I’ll more than happily respond!

Thanks for reading today’s blog! What do you all think? Next time you speak to someone with a stutter try and use a few of the points that I made today. Don’t rush them, be patient and please don’t finish sentences for them. I hope you all have a great week and remember to keep Highlighting the I in Difference!

Thanks again for reading and for all of the support,

Sweeney’s Blogs

Any money donated here will be put back into the business. This can be through marketing campaigns, upgrades to plans or for setting up future events!

£5.00

James

Stuttering in Mainstream Media – Blog 3: Stutterspirations

What is a stutterspiration? How do they help people who stutter? What does it take to be a stutterspiration?

Hello and Welcome to Sweeney’s Blogs!

Today’s blog is going to be the fourth blog in the Stuttering in Mainstream Media series and is going to be about Stutterspirations. Stutterspiration is a word that I have created to help distinguish a certain type of people. A Stutterspiration is a person with a stutter who inspires other people who have a stutter. The main purpose of this blog is to take a deeper look into what a stutterspiration actually is and how they help influence others.

The interesting thing when it comes to stutterspirations is that they can be found in almost all walks of life. A stutter does not discriminate which means that we can find people with stutters in all aspects of the media. In this blog, we are going to briefly talk about a person who I class as a stutterspiration and how they earned success off their talent alone.

The first person that I ever classed as a Stutterspiration is Harrison Craig. Harrison Craig is an Australian Singer who found his fame by winning the second season of The Voice Australia. Harrisons audition is where we first found out about his stutter. If you have not seen his audition or maybe want to rewatch it then you are more than welcome to click on the video below.

One of the things that I find the most interesting with Harrison’s story is that he does not get through via sympathy, he gets through simply down to pure talent. If anyone is not familiar with how the voice works then the premise is simple. Contestants sing on stage with the four coaches turned away from them, if the coach likes what they hear then they press their button and turn their chair. The contestant then gets to decide which team to go on based off which judge/ judges turn around and then progress through to the next stage of the competition.

Now as I said previously Harrisons got through his audition and then indeed went on to win the competition down to pure talent alone. Even though he has a stutter and struggles to full sentences at times without stuttering, his singing is still faultless. This just goes to show that having a stutter should not hold you back, you can still be successful even if you can’t speak without stopping sometimes.

See the source image

Harrison’s story helped me realise quite a few things about how I approached my life when it came to my stutter. The fact that Harrisons pursued his dream and went on live TV with a stutter solidified the idea in my head that my stutter should not hold me back in life. I started to approach life in a more confident way and started doing things that I wanted to do. This confidence boost was one of the reasons I became a Swimming Teacher and has allowed me to teach numerous swimmers over the past 3 years. A small portion of my achievement has to be given to people like Harrison who showed us that it is possible.

I have had a lot of different people in my life tell me that I cannot do certain things due to the fact that I have a stutter. Harrison’s story is a perfect example as to why they are completely wrong. A stutter does not limit you in regard to what you want to do in life. The only thing that does limit you if you have a stutter is yourself. A stutter may make you take longer to say some things but that does not mean that your voice is any less important than someone else’s.

That is all I want to talk about in today’s blog. Thank you all for reading! What do you all think? Did you know Harrison’s story before reading this blog? Do you know of any stutterspirations in your life? What attributes do you think leads to a person being a stutterspiration? Let me know what you think and any other comments you have about my blogs in the comments of this blog or on our Facebook page.

Thank you all for reading and I hope to see you all in the next blog! Have a great week and remember to Highlight the I in difference!

Sweeney’s Blogs

Any money donated here will be put back into the business. This can be through marketing campaigns, upgrades to plans or for setting up future events!

£5.00

James

Stuttering in Mainstream Media – Blog 2: Do age and gender affect having a stutter?

Ever wondered if age had an effect on if someone stuttered? Do more men stutter? Do men outgrow stutters more than women do?

Hello and Welcome to Sweeney’s Blogs!

Today’s blog is going to be the second blog in the Stuttering in Mainstream Media series. This blog is going to cover whether age and gender have an impact on if a person stutters or not. It is very important to understand what stuttering is and how it affects different people before we start looking at how stutters are covered in mainstream Media as it allows us to go in with a more balanced view.

I wasn’t originally going to go into the contributing factors in this series but after a few questions asked in the last blog by Sarah Chorley on our Facebook page (thank you for the feedback and the questions!). I am more than happy to tailor what content is covered in each of these blogs to what you all want to see so if you have any ideas or thoughts on what you would like me to cover then please get in touch!

Gender is surprisingly one of the largest factors to look at when finding the difference in people who stutter. I originally didn’t think gender had an influence on people having a stutter but the facts tell a completely different story. An article by The Stuttering Association called On the Gender Factor in Stuttering, can be found here: https://www.stutteringhelp.org/gender-factor-stuttering, provides an in-depth view on how gender and a few factors do have an effect on if a person stutters or not.

What I really like about this article is that it talks about gender differences in the number of people stuttering in different generations. it allows us to look at the factors of gender and age at the same time. The first statistic we are going to be looking at is the difference between male and females at primary school age. The article tells us that there is a difference between the genders, providing us with a male-to-female ratio of 2:1 for children in primary school.

This difference may seem very small but when we put it into context the numbers can be alarming. Let us use a class size of 30, 15 boys and 15 girls for an example. For this example, we are going to say that 5 girls in the class have a stutter. If 5 girls in the class have a stutter it means that 10 out of the 15 boys in the class have a stutter. The ratio shows us that for every 1 girl that has a stutter, theoretically speaking, 2 boys would have a stutter. This statistic is crazy and it just gets more interesting in older people.

The article tells us that for people who are older the male-to-female ratio increase to 4:1 or even greater. Putting this into a very basic example, if we have for every 100 females who have a stutter, there will be 400 or more men that will also have a stutter. This ratio of quadruple the difference between genders is really interesting and caught me completely off-guard.

There are even more alarming statistics in the article which you’re more than welcome to read from the link provided but the ones that surprise me is in regard to stutter recovery.  Apparently, men are more likely to develop chronic stutters than women. This can be traced to several different factors. Start, the Stuttering Treatment and Research Trust, https://www.stuttering.co.nz/news/why-are-males-more-likely-to-stutter/, help provide us with a few different reasons behind the difference between men and women.

They explain to us that females are more likely to naturally outgrow their stutters compared to males. The reasons for this as well as the reasons behind men stuttering more than women have not been identified as of yet. It is a topic that is under research and each experiment and researcher has their own view and opinion. It is agreed by nearly all industry professionals that if you or anyone you know does suffer from a stutter then it is best if they seek professional help.

Professional help for stuttering can usually be good as it can help us locate the reason why we stutter and then we can work to combat it. The main problem arises when it comes down to which treatment style works for you. I will be doing a blog on different stuttering solutions in the future but I do have one up on the page already. The blog that I have already written about a stuttering solution is called Rhythmical Thinking and it can be found here: https://sweeneysblog.com/2019/02/07/rhythmical-thinking-a-stuttering-solution/. The blog talks about a coping technique I used, how it works and how it helped me. Give it a read if you haven’t already!

That’s all I want to talk about in today’s blog! Thank you all for reading and I hope you’ve enjoyed it! I will be in Rhodes from the 3rd-10th of July so I may be unable to respond to comments as quickly as I usually do. I will try to answer questions as quickly as I can but I will be on holiday so apologies if it takes a little bit longer.

What do you all think fo today’s blog? Did you think that age or gender had an influence on having a stutter before reading the blog? Has anything I have talked about in this blog surprised you? Why do you think men stutter more than women? Let me know what you think in the comments or on our Facebook page! If you have any ideas or thoughts for the future of the series too let me know!

Thank you all for reading and a big thanks for the continued support! Hope you all have a great week and I’ll see you in the next blog coming this Thursday!

Sweeney’s Blogs

Any money donated here will be put back into the business. This can be through marketing campaigns, upgrades to plans or for setting up future events!

£5.00

James