I have stuttered all my life. My very first words, they tell me, were stuttered. All through school, every time that I had to talk or read to the class, I stuttered pitifully. This carried over into conversations. It was horrible. I had lots of therapy during my school years. I seemed to stutter less, but the methods supplied to me were not sustainable, and in the long run, I did not improve my speech. By age 17, I had had enough. I was desperate.
My name is Stephanie; I’m 19 and I live in New York. In late 2019, I attended a party of a close friend of mine and felt very isolated and limited because of my speech. As I was at the party, I started to research how to eliminate stuttering from my life, and finally be the person I truly was. I was lucky enough to stumble upon a book that would change my life. After reading it (Coach Lee’s book) in its entirety over the course of 3 months, I knew Coach Lee had something very special to offer the world, and that I would benefit from reaching out to him.
As I followed the instructions in his book, I saw almost daily improvement in my speech, but I knew that I needed a coach. In his book, Coach Lee invites readers to email him, so I did. I told him that stuttering had taken a huge toll on my life and that I couldn’t stand it any longer. I told him that I was desperate. To my surprise, he replied and began coaching me for free. It helped so much. I began to feel almost fluent, but I wasn’t quite yet. We began coaching in early 2020, and I started to really commit to mind-training, and I saw a noticeable improvement in my speech and confidence.
However, after a very sudden loss in my family, I went off the grid for nearly a year. I completely gave up on mind-training and improving my speech. I was not in a healthy place mentally, and I sort of gave up on a lot of things that I once loved. It was the hardest time of my life and I didn’t see a point in working on myself, let alone my speech. Looking back on this now, I know this was not conducive to my healing as a person, as the problem was still there and worsened. I knew giving up was not an option. I then reached out to Lee and explained my situation, and we started Skyping again. I was determined now more than ever. We have probably Skyped around ten times and what a difference it made. I haven’t appeared speech disabled for months now.
I also joined World Stop Stuttering Association, and I began watching the 50 or so video lessons that Lee did for WSSA on his book. I also watched lots of coaching videos by Lee and other coaches. These helped me so much.
Then I began attending SAM Meetings (WSSA’s speech club for PWS). Week after week, I heard ex-stutterers explain how they beat it, and I was able to ask them questions and learn even more. At SAM, they also offer Practice Sessions; you can sign-up to attend practice sessions with other PWS and some ex-stutterers. If you want to hear me talk, here I am about six weeks ago, and I’ve improved a bunch since then: https://youtu.be/atC-2hP07LU
I no longer feel speech disabled and strangers don’t see me that way either. I’m still working on fears and learning to love to speak, but I’m improving every day. Coach Lee loves my voice, and I will soon read poetry at a SAM Meeting. That would have been my worst nightmare a year or so ago. It’s the new me and I love it.
I owe all this to Coach Lee and WSSA’s great program and to all the people who attend SAM Meetings, especially the other coaches, who tell their wonderful stories. All that I can say is that if you stutter you can stop it. I know that if I didn’t have the support that I found on WSSA, it would be very difficult for me to try to improve my speech, and honestly my life. I’m so fortunate that this program sort of fell into my lap at just the right time. I don’t know where I would be without it and the lovely community that I’ve found there. Trust me when I tell you, Coach Lee’s methods work. Get his book and get to work. Maybe you and I will meet at a SAM Meeting or in a Practice Session. Anyway good luck from this ex-stutterer! I wish you all the best!
STEPHANIE, New York, August 2021