Stuttering. Hi, I'm Ashy...
I’ve just been taken on as a new blogger by Stop Holding Back. It’s only fair you get to know me before listening to my opinions, on everything stuttering related.
My name is Ashy, I have a stutter. I’ve stuttered since I was about 4, and it has varied a lot in that time. I’ve gone from not being able to string a sentence together (think Gareth Gates on Pop Idol), to being virtually fluent, other than when I’m tired or nervous.
High school wasn’t my favourite time in the world, I’m a good athlete but even that wasn’t enough to get me through school without having various incidents related to my fluency. I can only look back at school and laugh now, because of the distance I’ve come.
In terms of Speech Therapy, I went through therapy while I was in primary and I may as well have watched paint dry, it did nothing to me. The wait time was a matter of months, according to my parents and was useless. We then moved out to Michigan in the US and I had therapy there and I made a rapid improvement due to the intensity of the sessions. I remember these sessions and how much I enjoyed going, I was seen twice a week in school and then once a week in the clinic. Can you imagine the NHS reading this? They’d be sweating.
After two years and just after I’d gotten to the point where I was fluent, we moved back to the midlands and I went into year 7 at a local comprehensive. Queue a rapid decline in my fluency due to my therapy not being able to be sustained.
That year was horrible, making new friends was tough. I had a broken American accent and felt different because of all the new things I’d been exposed to, all on top of my stutter. Thankfully, I had sport and I joined every club there was. Thankfully, no matter what school you go to, there is always some way of finding release. I found a love of Rugby, or to be more honest, I found a love of hitting people, HARD, while still being encouraged to do it.
This is starting to become a life story, so I’ll skim over not interesting bits. At 21, I went to Birmingham City University to go and study Speech and Language Therapy. Through various avenues (check out the Fluency Trust for children who stutter, I’ll write about my experiences with them in a later post), years of practise and techniques I’d learned, I became virtually fluent and knew that I needed to give back. I wanted to do what some of the people who had helped me most in my life did.
Stuttering quickly became my forte and I loved it. I’ve started to specialise and work towards what I want to do, help people who stammer all over Britain and further afield. I met Ayo at one of the stammering events I attended. What he had to say moved me and I related to a lot. I bumped into him again at another event late last year and he asked me to write after he’d seen a few of my other things.
So that’s me, in a nutshell.
I’m excited to go on a journey with you guys.