This is Sarah. I’m 31 and live in Vancouver. I have been a severe stutterer my entire life and this is my speech journey. My stuttering started all of a sudden at the age of 3 with a high fever. That’s what my family tells me but I never cared about what caused it but always cared about how to fix it. My entire life whether it is school, college or any social gathering or even at home, I dwelled in the constant fear and trauma before any speaking situation. Although, I was a very ambitious and talkative person but like other PWS, it stopped me for being myself. Talking to people in groups, help desk, authority folks or strangers was extremely terrifying and was an invitation to blocks and embarrassments. With great pride, now after taking Coach Lee’s sessions, I have started talking fluently and with negligible fear even with the strangers. However, I am still working on my speech by implementing crutches in each and every of my conversations, but I no longer appear speech disabled.
During my school days I was a very competitive kid who wished to answer teacher’s questions in the class but it always remained inside me and created frustration and disappointment. However, whenever I got an opportunity to speak, I was faced with speech blocks, stuttering, anxiety and stress which were all too huge to control. Fortunately, I was never laughed upon at school but in the university teachers and few students were less tolerant towards my speech.
After all this, I didn’t lose hope for overcoming stuttering. The story of Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) and his stuttering inspired me to keep going in life towards my goals in spite of stuttering. I took numerous therapies. First one was right after the high school with a psychiatrist who used to teach journaling, relaxation and deep breathing before speaking. After this I had therapies with a speech language pathologist my mother use to go along with me as it was in another city. It was a very hectic commute but she did it for me. Unfortunately, all those therapies were of no use in reality.
In 2014 I came to USA for my Masters in Computer engineering and graduated in 2016. Then my journey of job search started and partially my stuttering became the reason for the rejections. Hiring managers showed reluctance in hiring me as they perceived me nervous and confused due to my stuttering. I still didn’t lose hope and started getting speech therapy in USA. Unfortunately, even in USA the speech therapy techniques were no different and never worked in the real-world situations.
One day I was browsing through Amazon and stumbled upon Coach Lee’s third edition book. I had never heard of him before but I wanted to read anything even remotely related to stuttering, so I bought the book. This was the time of my pregnancy during late 2020 and I read few pages but didn’t read more. After my baby girl was born, my speech got worse and I always use to think about this book. Then keeping everything aside, I started reading it and also messaged Coach Lee, he asked me to finish the book and message him again. Then I started Lee’s Sessions from July 2021. He gave me great hope and his words were very enlightening and empowering. I took his advice of “immerse yourself in this program” to heart and started reading for about 4 hours every day.
In the beginning I wasn’t using my crutches in front of my family or on the phone but whenever I did, my speech went on fluency wagon. After couple of months, I started feeling a sense of control in my speech and I was not hesitant to even sing if needed. Mind training and visualizations were also showing great positive results.
My speech anxiety issue was also resolved when the other day I voluntarily went up to speak to a stranger’s family with kids in a restaurant and introduced them with my family. This would have been a complete catastrophe before this program. If you want to hear me speak, you can go here: https://youtu.be/LFe8ai09SX0
This is the beginning of my miraculous fluency journey and I know I have to keep working on it at least until I love to speak in all situations. The mind training will always be an important way of dictating my thoughts, as the psychiatrist wrote in the Dedication of Lee’s book.
In the end I would like to show extreme gratitude towards Coach Lee for his incredible selfless service to the society. In addition to it, huge thanks towards my fellow SAC (now WSSA) members Prathusha, Ahsan, Brian, Daniel, Sree and Sanjeev for showing great patience and always giving me constructive feedbacks in the group practice sessions. Also, I would like to thank WSSA creators for running the pioneer website/organization to stop stuttering. The great news now is that stuttering does not need to be accepted by most anymore. It’s so wonderful that stutterers can now join WSSA, “the world’s only community of EX-stutterers” and those fast becoming ex-stutterers” and stop their own stuttering.
Sarah, Vancouver, April 2022