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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Yes, I Stutter

When I was four years old, I learned to read, but I couldn't write yet.  I started Kindergarten when I was four also, but that was because my mom thought she could get away with lying to the school and telling them I was five.  I picked up the paint brushes, crayons and pencils with my left hand.  When my teacher came around to teach me how to write my name, she told me that I had the pencil in the wrong hand and she took it out, placed it in my right hand, covered my hand with hers and moved my hand around to form the letters of my name. 

That was how I learned that my left hand was the "wrong hand".  I learned to write my name, paint my pictures and circle the picture of the cat that matched the word CAT with my right hand from that day forward.

When my fifth birthday rolled around almost three months after my first day of school, I was so excited I kept telling everyone at the school it was my fifth birthday.  The teacher took me to the principal's office.  The principal asked me how old I was.  I was in trouble.  I didn't know why, but for some reason, turning five was not acceptable!  They called my mom.  I waited in the principal's office.  My mom came to the school.  I didn't get to go back to Kindergarten anymore that year.

I began to stutter the same year.
DID I STUTTER? by minx267
 I never once in my life put two and two together until I saw the movie "The King's Speech".  In that movie, a speech therapist tells the King that the root of his stutter comes from being forced to write with his write hand when he was naturally left handed.  I had a complete Ah Ha! moment while watching that movie.

My stutter only came out when I was stressed or frustrated in some way.  Fighting with my older brothers (happened frequently), in trouble for something with my mom (less frequently) or even when reading aloud and trying to figure out an unfamiliar word (I was and am an avid reader so this happened quite often).

I mostly combated the stutter by learning to not get stressed.  I still stutter somewhat to this day when I do get stressed but it's not very bad and if I take a deep breath, close my eyes, gather my thoughts and start over, I can get past it.  Now my stutter usually only shows up when I disagree with someone emphatically and I'm trying to defend my view or when I'm trying to remember a word and it gets "stuck on the tip of my tongue". 

After a severe car accident I was in almost seven years ago, I had to go to many different specialists.  Four of them worked together to give me some information about the brain injury I had from the accident.  After running many tests, CAT scans and cognitive tests and conferring with the other specialists, one of them asked me what my primary hand was.  I said I was right handed.  His response surprised me.  "Actually, you are clinically classified as ambidextrous."  I told him the story about the Kindergarten teacher. 

I guess in the long run, I can thank that teacher because she forced me to learn to deal with stress and gave me the gift of ambidexterity. 

Life provides us with many obstacles to overcome.  How we deal with them is all a matter of perspective.
Half Full/Half Empty by JessicaInSeattle
Until Next Time,
JessicaInSeattle

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