Here in Chatabout Children, we’ve talked a lot about the importance of communication skills in raising socially intelligent children who could engage effectively with the outside world. We’ve pointed out several issues that appear very early in life and which could impinge our children’s communication and social skills. We’ve tackled attention problems, autism, anxiety, and selective mutism.
Perhaps another less talked about communication issue that affects more than 70 million individuals, including very young children, worldwide is stuttering. Our guest for this episode, Rich Stephens, sheds light on this poorly understood communication challenge.
Rich Stephens has lived with the physical, social, and emotional impact of stuttering since he was four years old. What made his situation worse was that he didn’t know anyone else who stuttered. He can’t confide any of his struggles and this led to feelings of loneliness and isolation. When he grew older, Rich realized that thousands of other children go through the same struggles he had as a child who stuttered. Today, Rich is determined to do something about this problem. He is now President of SAY Australia, the first international arm of SAY (Stuttering Association for the Young).
In my conversation with him, Rich shares his experiences of stuttering and opinions about how best to deal with the issue.
Listen to the episode and learn about:
- Rich’s experiences as a child who stuttered
- The psychological and social impact of stuttering on children
- Why educating the public about stuttering and how to talk with people who stutter is critical in improving their lives
- The correlation of stuttering and social anxiety and why it’s so important to address not just the former but also the latter
- What it felt like for Rich to finally meet someone who also stuttered
- Why there is no one-size-fits-all approach to dealing with stuttering
- Rich’s experience at Camp SAY
- How Rich help brought SAY in Australia
- SAY’s programs in Australia
“For me, it’s allowing that space. Just allow that space. Just fight the urge to interject. To listen. You know…because, for people who stutter, they have a lot of things to say if we give them time to say it.”
“All you have to be is you. That’s all you have to be. All you have to be is you.”
- SAY Australia’s website: SayAustralia.org.au
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