Archives for May 2013

The Internationally Renowned Stuttering Course

I have to admit that I named the title of this blog post somewhat tongue in cheek! But in reality the one to one speech course for stuttering that I offer could be classed as “international” as a number of people from different countries have travelled to the UK to attend and to seek my help.

 

After being “in the news” in my local area for overcoming a stutter and for helping other people who have this form of speech impediment to also achieve fluency I then had my moment “in the national spotlight”. And this is what I think attracted people from outside of the UK to make the trip. This was way back in 1999 and during one rather hectic week I was featured in the majority of the national newspapers and I was a guest on numerous radio programs. The BBC also wrote a short piece about my journey to fluency and the BBC is popular, of course, throughout many countries of the world. Here is that article: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/364923.stm

Steve Hill in the newspapers

Over the next few weeks many people booked onto one of my courses and at one stage I was completely booked up for seven months. You can imagine people’s reaction when they asked for the next available course date to be informed that it was seven months away! Yes, not good and I certainly did not blame them. I wanted to ensure that each course was on a one to one basis whereby the course attendee is the only stutterer on the course and whereby I am the only one offering the therapy – hence one to one. People who attend the course are able to bring a friend or family member along with them, for support, if they so wish to.

About four months after all of the national media coverage I received a telephone call from a man who lived in Saudi Arabia. He had a seventeen year old son who had a stutter. He asked for more information about the speech courses and then stated that he would be back in touch in the near future. I felt that there was absolutely no way that this person, along with his son, was going to travel all the way from Saudi Arabia to attend a course run by yours truly in England. So you can therefore imagine my amazement when he did call back three days later to book the course. Yes I was gobsmacked. They were really nice people and the son had a superb attitude – he worked very hard throughout the course and gained his just rewards.

This was my first client from overseas and since then people from Sri Lanka, Ireland, South Africa, India, Denmark, Australia and the United States have attended.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Let The Therapy Begin

After managing to overcome my own stutter when I was aged twenty two I started to think about what I wanted to do with my life. Up to this point I had seemingly always accepted second best. As an example I was working in the insurance sector and had been since the age of sixteen. Was this a career which I found fulfilling? Was this a career I enjoyed? The answer to both of these questions was most certainly NO. Not only did I not enjoy it I found working for this company extremely boring and in my own mind I was merely treading water. Then there was the area where I lived, Birmingham. I do love this city and I am very proud to have been born there however I longed to live by the sea. So what did I do?

Well I decided to resign from my work and I also decided to move to Devon to live. Fortunately my long-term girlfriend was also happy to move from Birmingham to Devon. These were big changes but were ones that I relished. I was no longer being held back by the speech impediment and I felt on top of the world and believed that I could conquer the world!

Feeling very happy with myself

I then thought about the possibility of starting to help other people that had a stutter. I knew from my own personal experiences that the level of help available was extremely poor. The speech and language therapists are very negative by not even believing that it is possible to eradicate a stutter and the majority of them have a lack of real understanding of the subject of stuttering and most certainly with what it is like to have this form of speech impediment. I therefore knew or believed that other people, that also suffer with what I had struggled to cope with for the previous eighteen years of my life, would likely welcome the help and support of someone who has “been there”.

So I decided that this was something that I wanted to do and it was then a case of advertising what I was offering. Something which I quickly realised was that in this area of the country people referred to stuttering as stammering. When I mentioned that I used to have a stutter people would reply:

“Do you mean a stammer?”

I therefore also started to refer to it as stammering due to where I was now living, where as I had rarely even heard that word mentioned during the time I had lived in Birmingham.

“Yes I have overcome a stammer and I now offer a five day course aimed at helping other people who have this type of speech impediment to also achieve fluency.”

I held open days where I would explain to people about the treatments that I was now offering. I also placed an advert in the Yellow Pages.

I was quite surprised at just how quickly things seemed to snowball and about just how popular the courses were.

I have now moved back to live in Birmingham and this is where I now run the courses.

Image courtesy of jesadaphorn at FreeDigitalPhotos.net