Without Del Ferro’s stutter therapy, I would still be stuttering

Stottertherapie en ademtraining met de Del Ferro methode

The struggle with stuttering began for Peter as soon as he started elementary school. The unwanted companion traveled with him for more than 25 years. Now people don't even realize he stuttered for a long time. Read Peter's experience.

Elementary school

From the moment I went to elementary school I stuttered. So when I was four, the stuttering began. I have no idea how it originated. I was too young to realize it.

Immediately I had speech therapy. I remember learning how to make words longer on purpose so I wouldn’t stutter and how to avoid difficult words.

As a child, I was not concerned with stuttering. I just talked like that. Nor was there any interest in doing something about it, so the stuttering continued throughout my childhood and even worsened.

I don’t have many examples of what stuttering did to me in my youth, but one thing I do remember. It was in grade 6 and we were tasked as a group to make a board game for the kids in grade 1 and 2 so they could also learn something from it. We had to make our own groups.

In my memory, everyone around me had found a group very quickly and I had by now developed a certain shame and fear of asking an existing group if I could join.

I spent a long time walking around and watching other children having fun and working on their ideas. Eventually the teacher saw that I was wandering around and she urged me to go to a quiet group and ask if I could join. This is one of the few situations I remember well. The feeling I had in this situation as well as those in other situations that I can’t remember exactly will always stay with me.

It is a feeling of shame, fear, helplessness and dejection. I think everyone can imagine how this feels.

In elementary school, I was never bullied. Never had a nasty comment thrown at my head either. The kids in my class knew me and were not surprised when I stuttered. Yet during this period I had fear and shame to say anything. This is because I considered myself less worthy than other children who could speak fluently.

High school time

For any child, going to a new, larger school and joining a completely new class is exciting. The first week was an introductory week and the first day I had to bring something that suited me and then I had to tell something about it.

I had brought a book about stuttering. Not because I really wanted to, but so that all the new kids and teachers would know about my speech problem. I was one of the last to speak, and I found myself getting all nervous. Now this is what everyone does when they have to do something exciting, but it is often healthy. In my case, my thoughts and degree of nervousness were not healthy.

My thoughts at that moment: “Oh, shit, soon it will be my turn and I will stutter. What will the others think of me? Soon I’ll be completely stuck in a stutter and everyone will look at me funny. What if someone starts laughing? Should I leave now? Maybe I’ll get out of it.” These kinds of thoughts are toxic and if you keep repeating them to yourself, they will only get worse.

How exactly it ended I don’t remember. Only as I wrote before, the feeling I had at that moment I can still remember exactly. It never led to any major bullying with me, but I did occasionally encounter situations where peers enjoyed breaking in during my non-fluent sentence and jokingly saying, “What are you saying?” or “Learn to talk normally first.”

I never told anyone about this happening to me and how I felt about it. My parents also did not know and still do not know that this was a regular occurrence and that it lowered my self-esteem even further.

At school, I did not perform well. I moved on to the next class, but barely. I’m sure I could have performed better, but because I was so preoccupied with wanting to be “normal”, all my energy went there. During this period, I suffered from migraines for the first time. Not so intense at first, but it got worse and worse.

Career choice

After high school, I had to go on to college. I had already decided for myself that I was going to do an education where I didn’t have to talk much. In retrospect, I would have been quite happy to go into teaching, or maybe even healthcare.

Stuttering at first seems to have only outward symptoms, because stuttering is heard and seen. But when you consider that it influenced my choice of profession, you can already see that it goes much deeper.

I chose that I wanted to be a baker. I didn’t have many interests that I wanted to make my work out of. Baking always interested me, so that choice made sense.

After six months, I found out that life as a baker was not for me. It was a real man’s world with big men who were also quite rude and where the one with the biggest mouth got the most respect.

That’s how I experienced it, that doesn’t mean it actually is. Everyone sees it in their own way. I absolutely did not fit in there. I expressed this at home and at school. But then again, what was I supposed to do?

I had no interest in anything else and yet I had to go to school until I was eighteen. Reluctantly, I put up with it for two years. And I must say that the second year I had a nice internship where the pressure was not so intense. It was a supermarket bakery where they also baked fresh breads and also made their own pastries! That’s where I felt I belonged, so I ended up working there when I was eighteen.

Changes

At twenty-three, my life changed. I got into a serious relationship and I am still together with him! After living in The Hague for a while, we went back together to where I grew up, quiet Steenwijk. Here I felt better.

Still I had no idea what I wanted in life, but I wanted to do something. In the meantime, I had discovered fitness. I was fanatical and loved seeing my physical changes. Mentally I was still the insecure person I always was, but physically I improved.

Against stuttering, I had since tried regular stutter therapy and even hypnotherapy. Neither had the effect I was hoping for. So I was told to embrace the stutter and that I would naturally become less tense.

New education and work

For a very long time I looked at a site from an educator for fitness training and everything related to sports and health. But yes, I stuttered and I could never become a fitness trainer. Who takes a trainer who stutters seriously? That was my thought.

It took about six months and then my boyfriend called that educator. I myself did not call, because I would never get out of my words. He had a nice conversation and made an appointment to visit sometime for some personal explanation.

I was very surprised and impressed by the personal interview and tour that I signed up for the course almost immediately! I always called this step in my life the best choice of my life. This step has positively changed much of my life.

The group of fellow students was very sociable and didn’t look odd when I talked. I had never felt so valued in a group before. Eventually, I ended up working at the gym where I had been an intern. They were able to see through the stuttering and see who I actually was. This was also expressed by several colleagues, which was nice and made me feel appreciated.

Stumbling block

I was doing well. I was never felt as comfortable in my skin as when I was at that time. Still, stuttering remained a stumbling block. People around me were not bothered by my stutter, at least that’s what they said.

But it really did bother me more and more myself. Both in speech and uncertainty and increasingly worse migraines.

I had heard of Del Ferro through a TV talk show and had visited the site several times. But: did I stutter that much? Did I really need it? Worst of all, you would come into a group and had to schedule an online consultation session.

The tension eventually ran so high at my work (now another gym) that I couldn’t speak to a customer properly. I felt so bad about that. I am always decent, to everyone, but because of the stuttering, only a blunt “no” came out. While I wanted to say something like, “No, the beer comes from the tap and it is not 0.0. Doesn’t it taste good? Then I’ll make you a new one.”

That moment I thought enough! I was so angry about stuttering that I immediately scheduled an online consultation session the next day.

Del Ferro's stutter therapy & now

Where first the fitness instructor training was the best choice of my entire life, I now consider Del Ferro’s stutter therapy the best choice ever!

Of course, I was very nervous that Monday that I went to the Del Ferro Institute, but I knew I had to try this. I was skeptical, but I wanted to have tried everything to get rid of stuttering.

From day 1 I applied the Del Ferro method and I no longer stuttered. This was a crazy sensation. It felt wonderful not to get stuck and not to feel pressure on my throat and head.

The method was not difficult to apply. It takes some getting used to saying everything at first with your eyes closed and hands on your ribs, but that was really necessary to get to the heart of
the problem.

I immediately thought, I’m just going to do this, no matter how crazy it may look to other people. The different phases were winding down the technique (that’s how I experienced it) to increase towards “normal” speech. After the 5-day stutter therapy, life would go on. I had to go back to work.

I immediately agreed with my employer that I would give a presentation on stuttering and the Del Ferro Method instead of giving an abdominal muscle training session. Exciting? Yes! But for me, it felt like something I had to do. It was a great challenge for me and that would only make me more confident.

On the other hand, I also did it to explain to the people I saw a lot the situation I was in and that I did needed support to make it work. Killing two birds with one stone.

People were surprised that I no longer stuttered. And by now it is as if it has never been otherwise.

In the meantime, I had one more real stutter. It was in a situation that was unexpected for me and I felt I had to react quickly. I felt I was pressing as I always did when I stuttered. I expected beforehand that I would be very upset when I stuttered again.

Against all odds, it was actually not too bad. I was dissapointed and needed to release my emotion, but this had fueled my motivation to keep going, because I absolutely did not want this anymore!

I get a very happy and warm feeling when I think of Del Ferro. They gave me the help I was looking for. Of course it also comes a lot down to your own motivation and perseverance, but without Del Ferro’s help I would still be stuttering today.

Not only was I coached on the physical problem of stuttering, but also really the mental part: how to deal with your own thoughts. That was an eye opener for me and has helped me through many difficult periods, both stutter-related problems and things unrelated to stuttering. Real wisdom for a happy life.

As I write this, except for that one time, I have not stuttered for 11 months and I feel more comfortable than ever.

I can say anything I want, people who meet me for the first time do not notice that I have ever stuttered and look surprised when it is brought up. Also very positive is that I have had no more migraines!

I now dare to look more to the future and feel confident to pursue my ambitions.

Hereby want to thank all the people who helped and supported me! All the support, however small perhaps, have had a great impact on my path to a stutter-free life.

A great experience for our students. You never get used to it. Do you also want to live stutter-free?

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