From speech therapy to online storyteller

Would you believe me if I said I had a speech impediment growing up?

Well I did. This is the first time I’m sharing this part of my story online and for good reason.


I was made to feel different – not in a good way

Struggling to pronounce my R’s, W’s and Y’s, people used it against me. I was a target because I was behind the rest of the class. My classmates noticed this. Even at the age of 4, they could still tell something was different about me.

Was it the fact I used to wear a baseball cap every day and refused to take it off even in the classroom?

Was it the fact I could run faster than everyone else and could outrun anyone who dared to chase me around the playground?

School wasn’t pleasant for me. Even at the early stages of education, I was bullied by someone. I remember the names. I remember certain things that happened. Bullying never leaves you, even 22 years later.

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Our traits are their flaws

One thing I’ve learned from my bullying experiences is the flaws people see/hear are the traits we have the chance to love. My speech might not have been great at first, but since, I’ve delivered talks at national conferences, been interviewed with various radio stations and produced videos where I was the voice over.

Learning to love your traits can take time. Some of the traits can be seen as flaws. I definitely saw my speech as a flaw. But I’ve learned to love it. The way I speak is the way I communicate on here. The way I communicate on here is the same way I speak in person.


My R’s, W’s and Y’s…

My speech still isn’t perfect. When I’ve delivered talks or just communicated with someone face to face, I still notice certain words are still hard for me to say.

I love that!

The speech impediment is part of my journey. It’s part of who I am. It’s not always noticeable, but it’s still a part of me and what makes me the storyteller that I am. I don’t hide it. I shout out about it.

R – Real

W – Worthy

Y – Yourself

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A quick message to those school bullies

I will never look down on my self-worth, because you don’t love yourself. I’m a real person with real feelings, who is living his life to the full.

The looks you once gave me are now sources of motivation to ensure no-one else goes through what you made me go through. The surgery I had to have due to the physical abuse you put me through.

You may no longer be in my life, but I still remember what you did. I have control now. I have the heart to turn your negativity into my positivity. I have the words and self-worth to be the person I am and to continue doing so…


Images taken by Tajinder Kaur

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46 thoughts on “From speech therapy to online storyteller

  1. John,
    Thank you so much for sharing this story. I recently retired from a 30-year career as a speech pathologist. I am sorry for the bullying that you went through. I admire you for taking this negative and turning it into a positive in your life. Sharing your experiences with others will help someone else who may be going through something similar. Keep sharing!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am sorry to hear that you were bullied for your speech. My brother was in speech therapy for a lisp when we were younger and now my best friends son is in speech. So many kids have issues with speaking and I can only hope that they do not have to worry about being bullied. Thank you for sharing your story and congrats on overcoming everything and embracing your speech.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I can relate. I have diagnosed with speech apraxia when I was 2 as I had a problem talking like a real person (I was describe talking like a baby in Elem school). I have improved since and now I am a teacher. But, I always felt like speech apraxia was a flaw of mine and I would be scared to tell people about. I still don’t people about it because I don’t want people to treat me different or be fired from my job.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Love this post! My daughter has difficulties with the letter R and no matter what we try, she is just stuck on that one letter. Thank you for this!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. What a wonderful post John. You always share such deeply moving and introspective pieces. I respect your work so much and I love your openness. Your truth is so raw and powerful. I truly enjoy each and every post you write.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This is a very great read. My son is going to speech therapy now. He’s five and his teacher says he don’t talk much to other kids because he’s embarrassed. It hurts my heart but after reading your post I have confidence in my sons ability to get better with his speech!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thanks for sharing!

    I also went through speech therapy but the results were different for me as I’m deaf and unable to hear my own voice. As I got older I noticed how, rather than appreciate deaf people’s attempts at communicating in a way that was unnatural to them, society would mock us. I decided to shut off my voice with people unfamiliar to me and instead communicate with them in writing.

    It’s a good thing I love writing!

    Like

  8. This is inspiring to read. But it makes me question why the system does not make more efforts to get rid of bullying, in some ways it seems like bullies are enabled which is such a shame. That you had a surgery as a result of injuries from being bullied is just wrong.
    Thank you for putting this out as it will certainly inspire someone who might be dealing with bullying.

    https://belletammy.blogspot.com/

    Like

    1. The surgery could have impacted my entire life (I was kicked in the male private region) and it’s something that’ll always stick with me, but I could either sit back and let the bullying impact me or stand up, make my voice louder and help others to share their stories. I think I made the better choice

      Like

  9. I also struggled when growing up at school as I also have a speech impediment and even though after having speech therapy classes I still to this day struggle to pronounce my T’s, G’s and D’s. This is one of the reasons I started to blog actually to get my self confidence up and make friends who don’t look at me differently. Feel free to join my FB group as would be great to have you as part as my community.

    Liked by 1 person

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