Friday, October 22, 2010

An Award & A Difficult Academic Task

Apparently, my blog was one of 10 winners for the 2010 Top Stuttering Stammering Blogs (see the badge in the right-hand column). You can read about who hosts this selection at at this link here. I really do appreciate those who voted for this blog, appreciate the organization who sponsors the yearly distinction, and certainly am humbled to be included with my fellow bloggers on that list, most with whom I have become familiar over the years of maintaining this blog. To be listed right below Tom Weidig is a true honor, given the time and tremendous work he expends every year in the study of stammering and given his impressive academic credentials. You may have read before that he and I had the chance to sit and talk in a coffee house in San Diego a few years ago. He is just as charming in person as he is in his writing. And just as passionate about the study of stammering/stuttering.

I am currently back in school again...yes, again (actually, I think I mentioned this already). It seems I have become addicted to being enrolled in school. Otherwise, I feel lazy and unproductive and I hate both of those things. For one of the courses I am required to take (Language and Communication) I was required to develop a thesis statement and then provide research and an outline for a live presentation of my subject and thesis, write an APA-formatted outline, at least one visual aid, and then I was required to VIDEO TAPE the presentation without editing and have at least one person in the audience ask 2-3 questions at the end, followed by my answers.

Let me start by saying that I am a very comfortable public speaker. I am most fluent when I am at a podium or if there is a microphone in my hand. I facilitate many psychoeducational groups at work with at least 10-15 teenagers in attendance. Most of my groups are educational in nature and consist of me lecturing and asking questions of the teens. I feel most comfortable, speaking-wise, when I am in front of an audience. Unless...unless...unless...there is a camcorder running and it is being recorded. Then, I turn into a stuttering, fumbling, sweaty-palmed jackass. And that is what happened with this project. It took me 5 times to finally get all the way through it. Each of the four times, I would get nearly through the presentation and then suddenly, I would block irrevocably and I would just turn the camera off because I can't bear the thought of my college instructors seeing how I look when I stutter. Further, I have no desire to immortalize such an event on film, digital or otherwise.

Ultimately, I was able to get through it, with stuttering, and decided that, since it was a required part of the course, I had no choice but to live with it. I did let the graders know of my stuttering condition, however, and informed them that the stuttering was unavoidable and that I sincerely hoped I would not be penalized for it, grade-wise. Turns out, I was not. I passed the task and was told the work was excellent.

What stands out in my mind, however, about this event is how traumatized I felt after each failed attempt. My hands were sweaty and shaking, I was depressed, embarrassed with myself and felt like a complete failure. After the second try, I was almost ready to give up on the prospect of even trying again. I literally felt very invaded and traumatized. I felt like I was being forced to put my disability on display for others to view and that is a horrible, terrible feeling.

Okay, I'm done being a victim. :)

Stuttering can be a real pain in the arse at times!

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Derek Redfern said...

I can sympathize with this in a way. I've got no problem speaking in front of a camera, but I will go to extraordinary lengths to avoid watching said video or, indeed, ever hearing a recording of my voice.

Stuttering Stanley said...

I used to hate hearing my voice, but now it's not a problem unless the stuttering isn't edited out. :)

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