Ivan, Macedonia

My name is Ivona.  I am the mother of Ivan, who is now age 11.  We live in Macedonia.  My son, Ivan, stuttered mildly from ages 3-5; his stuttering declined for awhile, but, at age 10, he began stuttering heavily.  His problem was mainly repeats, endless repeating.  My husband and I began searching the Internet for help.  On Amazon, we found Lee Lovett’s book, Stuttering & Anxiety Self-Cures.  We read the 2nd Edition and loved it, and we emailed Mr. Lovett (“Coach Lee”) and asked for help.  He emailed us the 3rd Edition and we began Skyping with him in Jan. 2020.  Ivan was then ten years old.

Coach Lee’s approach is very different.  He said that he didn’t want to coach Ivan too much but that he wanted to teach me to coach my son.  Each coaching session, Coach Lee began by talking to me alone extensively.  He asked me all about Ivan and his speech, and he discussed various things that I could do with Ivan or ask Ivan to do, and he asked me to choose which approaches to try.

He also asked us to speak to all of Ivan’s teachers at school and explain Ivan’s problem and ask those teachers NOT to call on Ivan for class presentations, and to invite Ivan to speak only when Ivan volunteered to do so.  We have done this, and this immediately ended the humiliating speech incidents at school.

Lee explained that most of his methods are too complicated for pre-teens to do.  He urged as much reading aloud (by Ivan alone and with me) as possible.  He urged us to “play parts” like actors as we read and to make it as much fun as possible.  We did this, and still do, and it has helped immensely.  In Lee’s coaching sessions, he and Ivan took turns reading aloud.  Lee talked about focusing on the thoughts and trying to express them with as much feeling as possible.  Ivan learned to do this very well.

After he got an update from me, Coach Lee asked me to have Ivan join us.  He listened to Ivan talk a bit and then spent most of the time talking to Ivan about Ivan’s opinion of himself and Ivan’s concerns with other people’s opinions.  Coach Lee helped Ivan understand that Ivan’s opinion of himself was what really mattered, not others’ opinions.  Some of the sessions were full of life lessons that will surly help Ivan for the rest of his life.  Some were so good that we replayed the recordings multiple times and may do so for years to come. 

Coach Lee also recommended that Ivan slow down his speech and think about pronunciation when he spoke.  Lee did many drills with Ivan on this, and Ivan did them very well.  After the session, of course, Ivan would forget and revert to fast talking with many repeats. Sometimes I reminded Ivan to slow down and work on his pronunciation.  This worked.  After quite a few weekly sessions, Ivan began to respond, and his repeats declined dramatically, but there were still “bad incidents”, which Lee defines as “appearing speech disabled”.

The above process continued from the fall of 2019 through 2020.  By May of 2021, Ivan’s speech was doing a great deal better.  He no longer “appears speech disabled”, even in his virtual classroom situations.  In today’s coaching session, as in many others, Ivan read aloud incredibly well to Lee and me.  In his daily conversations, he is also doing well.  He recently volunteered to do a whole series of virtual presentations to his class and all went well.  Ivan then said to me, “I feel like I am destroying stuttering.”  

Ivan’s speech can still become more fluent, but he is doing so well now that we only have sessions with Coach Lee “upon request”, which we’re doing every month or so.  The important thing is that the chronic repeats have stopped, and Ivan’s attitude about his speech, about himself and his life, have improved dramatically.  While Ivan’s speech can improve, he no longer appears speech disabled, and he is much happier.

We did unknown dozens of sessions with Coach Lee.  The entire experience with him and his methods has been wonderful for Ivan, and I’ve enjoyed it too.  My guess is that most parents would love to watch many of our coaching sessions, which can be found in World Stop Stuttering Association’ video library, which can be seen by WSSA members.  I am very grateful for everything that Lee did for my family and no matter what the future brings, we will never forget Coach Lee.  We wanted to give him something, but he said that Ivan’s fluency was what he wanted.

I strongly recommend Lee’s book and World Stop Stuttering Association website, where the excellent video-lessons on that book and the videos for parents that you can be found.  The Lovett Method has helped my son beyond my words to express, and Coach Lee has taught Ivan many very valuable lessons about speech and most importantly about life.  

Ivona for Ivan,  June 2021 

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