My stammering achievements in 2021

A woman looking at the camera with the number 2021 next to her

29th December 2021

Despite knockbacks from job interviews because of her stammer, Zara Noreen decided not to let it get her down. Instead, she has been proactive, making 2021 the year that she built her confidence, got involved and made her voice heard.

Hi, my name is Zara and I have cerebral palsy and a stammer.

Since leaving college I have struggled to get a paid job. I'm looking for administrative office-based roles and I have completed many job application forms but don't hear anything back. The one time I did get a reply and had a phone interview, I was told they didn't think I was capable for the role due to my 'speech difficulties' even though I have good qualifications. It is very disheartening; it gets me feeling very low and it definitely affects my confidence.

But despite that, 2021 has been a good year. At the start of it I told myself I wasn't going to sit around feeling sorry for myself. Nope, I'm not giving up. Until I do find a paid job, I decided, I want to be heard. I want to show people that regardless of my stammer (or my disability) I can do and I do everything others do. 

But despite that, 2021 has been a good year. At the start of it I told myself I wasn't going to sit around feeling sorry for myself. Nope, I'm not giving up.

So, I came up with the idea of speaking out in public a lot more. I decided to go out and ask random questions to people in the street, such as asking for directions or the time, just so that my voice is out there and that I'm heard. 

I was really nervous at first but the people I came across and spoke to were super nice, kind and most importantly patient as they waited and allowed me to finish what I was saying. It made me feel happy and gave me a sort of boost to carry on. I did get a few stares from some people walking past but I tried to not let that bother me. 

As a result of doing that, I have been happier and more confident this year to speak out in public and order my own food and drinks, something I didn't do much of before.

My YouTube channel

This year I also decided to get more involved with the stammering community. I became a volunteer for STAMMA and I started my own YouTube channel to talk about stammering and also my cerebral palsy. In one of my videos I answer questions that I'm often asked, including: what is a stammer?, when did I start stammering?, does anyone in my family stammer?, what does living with a stammer feel like?, and is there anything I've avoided doing because of my stammer? 

My goals for 2022 are to get a paid job and also to help others by continuing to raise stammering (and disability) awareness. Through my videos, my aim is to show others that people who stammer are not 'less' than anyone else; they are very capable and they deserve every opportunity, just like everyone else.

You can subscribe to Zara's YouTube channel and follow her on Twitter using @zaraxnoreen.

Would you like to tell us about your stammering wins and achievements? Do you have any aims for 2022 you'd like to share? Email us at editor@stamma.org for more details.