My name is Julie, and I am Marley’s mom. We live in Australia. Marley, who turned five recently, has had a rather severe stuttering problem. When he began stuttering at age three, I used to correct him, but the problem seemed to grow steadily worse. In pre-Kindergarten, he was not able to make himself understood, or at least not quickly enough to suit the other children; so, he was largely ignored by them.
We consulted a speech therapist for a while but this didn’t seem to help. After searching Amazon, I found Lee’s book and read it. It made a great deal of sense to me, and it included Lee’s email address. So, I emailed him, and he replied straight away, and we began Skyping. Lee said that he did not want to coach Marley directly for fear of intimidating him, but he was willing to coach me on ways to help Marley. So, we began regular Skypes.
Due to Marley’s young age, then four, he could not apply any of Lee’s methods. So, Lee suggested that I simply begin reading to Marley, stories that Marley liked of course, and that I ask Marley to repeat what I read. This way, Lee felt, Marley would not stutter as he repeated my words. Lee was correct. As a result, Marley began to hear my read without stuttering and then heard himself speaking without stuttering. The more that I read to Marley, the less he stuttered throughout the day.
Lee also suggested that I have Marley “play parts” of characters that he liked (like Spiderman and Superman), and, while being deeply involved in being that character, he would tend to not to stutter. This also proved correct. Marley began to stutter a great deal less.
The big tests for Marley were at his school. Lee stressed that I should speak to Marley’s teachers, all of them, and ask them NOT to ask Marley to speak before the class and only call on him when he volunteered to speak. Lee explained that many PWS are created in school situations, and the more that they are required to speak in school, the more the stutter increases. He referred to Fahad, another Success Story on SAA with a fine video by him, explaining how teachers and therapists compounded his stuttering. So, I did speak to Marley’s teachers and they have cooperated.
Since Lee and I began Skyping in earnest in January 2018, Marley has reduced his stuttering by 98%. He has not relapsed in over two months now. Of course, he is very young, and we will have to keep a close eye on him. In the meantime, Lee urges me to keep reading aloud to Marley, and asking him to repeat what I read, as much as I can. To date, this has reduced his stuttering and has begun to help learn to read, and, of course, it has bonded us even closer, all positives. Lee assures me that, should Marley suffer a relapse later, the older that he is the more of Lee’s methods we could use. So far, we have only been able to use the reading aloud method.
I want to stress that it is important NOT to correct the child’s speech, as this makes them concerned about it and tends to compound the problem. However, I feel that when I paraphrased what Marley said (if he struggled with a sentence), without conveying any disapproval, I helped to provide fluent memories for him. I found as I used this more often, Marley began repeating his own sentences fluently after he had become stuck.
All considered, this IS a “Success Story”, because Marley was stuttering quite heavily and, now, he isn’t. As such, I can heartily recommend Lee’s book, Lee and the overall efforts of Speech Anxiety Anonymous, the charity that Lee and other PWS formed to provide free help to PWS. It is a wonderful idea and a great kindness by all those involved with SAA. Marley and I can’t thank Lee and SAA enough, and we send our love to Lee and our thanks to all those with SAA who help make its service available to all.
Julie (Marley’s mom) and Marley, Australia, June 2018
On June 9, 2022, FOUR YEARS after stopping his stuttering, the mom of Marley (who came to us at age four and stopped stuttering at age five) wrote the following: “You helped my son (who was only 4 at the time) to stop stuttering. You personally Skyped with me (despite the time difference between Australia and Bermuda). After adapting your strategies for a child, my son has never stuttered again. To you and your family who let you be you, I say a massive thank you Signed “Marley and his Mum, Julie (Queesland, Australia)”