Stammering is just different
Law student Lucy Allcock tells us about the different reactions she gets to her stammer, and how speaking to lecturers about it helps.
I'm Lucy, I'm 22 and I've had a stammer my whole life. I am currently studying law at university, which of course is a huge task in itself without taking a stammer into the equation.
When I was younger my stammer was quite severe. There were certain words I just couldn't say. Stammering affects males more than it does females, which I found out very early on in life. I never met another female with stammer, only men, which meant I didn't really have many female friends to talk about it with.
The funniest reaction I've had is people telling me "I've caught your stammer".
I went to speech therapy but it did not really make me more fluent, it just gave me the information and techniques I could use to live with my stammer. As I got older my stammer calmed down but still to this day there are certain words that I still struggle with, like 'last' — I'm not sure why but whenever this dreaded word comes up in my vocabulary, I know I need to take a little more time to breathe and think.
I have had a lot of different reactions to my stammer over the years. My friends, family and loved ones forget it's even there most of the time; sometimes they tell me to take a breath and slow down when I'm a bit too excited or talking a bit too fast. I've had people joke about my stammer, try and imitate it. I don't let it get to me, in fact I educate them. I tell them about my stammer and how joking about it isn't fair or right as it's a part of me and something I cannot change. The funniest reaction I've had is people telling me "I've caught your stammer". This has always confused me, as that's not possible but I laugh and once again try to educate them as best I can!
Being a law student with a stammer has not stopped me from public speaking, doing oral exams and many other tasks which some people might deem difficult for a person with a stammer. I have never let it come in the way of me and my future, it is a part of me.
- Looking for help with stammering at uni? See our College & University page.
I learnt throughout my university experience to speak to my lecturers about my stammer and inform them that it isn't a nervous thing and it's not because I don't know what I'm talking about. I don't tell them in hope of getting sympathy or a better grade, quite the opposite. I tell them so they treat me like everyone else; so they can look past the stammer and just focus on the hard work I have put in.
I learnt throughout my university experience to speak to my lecturers about my stammer... I don't tell them in hope of getting sympathy or a better grade, quite the opposite. I tell them so they treat me like everyone else.
If you have a stammer and are in, or are going into, any type of education, remember it isn't something to hide away from. It's not something that holds you back, it's just something different. Something that doesn't have to make you any different from anyone else.
I still struggle some days more than others but that's normal, right? Every day I'm learning new ways to live with my stammer and that's okay. Your stammer isn't a weakness, it's a part of you which doesn't need to be hidden away!
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