I was going to Walton Junior School when I developed a stammer. I had difficulty starting a sentence with certain letters.
A hard C sound (as in cat) was always a challenge and, given my name, was a source of much embarrassment. I don’t know how many times I was asked what my name was, and the result would invariably be a long and broken C..C……..C…………C…. Colin.
The school made arrangements for me to see a speech therapist at the school on a weekly basis which was even more embarrassing, because I was called out of class at the appropriate time and everybody knew where I was going.
I do not recall any improvements as a result of the therapy. They told me to stop and think about what I wanted to say, before I started saying it. In retrospect, did they totally miss my problem with my name? What was there to think about when asked for my name?
That really did not resolve anything and my Mum remembered being told “He’ll probably grow out of it.” I did not grow out of it for many years but did eventually (much later) manage to accommodate it. I only stammered if my first word started with a “problem sound” so, in a situation where I was asked my name, my response would be “my name is Colin.”
Relatives, work colleagues and other people were now dropping by more frequently, and it was very unnerving and embarrassing when a greeting included not only a hug (we did not hug as a family) but also “Oh what a lovely little lad ….. what’s your name sonny?” Peers were no different “So what’s your name?” I had however, already discovered a world that did not involve the trauma of trying to say one’s name, and the interest had been triggered years earlier in Bridlington* as a four year old. Trains!
Footnote: While the problem is now well in the past, every now and then (and when I least expect it) I will still “trip up” over a particular sound!
*See “Dear Diary – Page 2” – May 14, 2015