Houston Astros’ outfielder George Springer is an outstanding ballplayer, but he’s also been doing great work with Say.org (The Stuttering Association For The Young).
Springer is the Say.org Spokesperson. He’s been working with kids who have speech impediments to help learn techniques/strategies to speak without stuttering. There are many children across the globe that have a speech impediment. Unfortunately, their speech impediment is part of their daily life.
Springer’s Battle For Fluency
In fact, Springer has speech impediment as well. In October of 2017, Bill Plaschke of The Los Angeles Times wrote the article, Stuttering isn’t stopping the Astros’ George Springer, who’s now talking the talk. In Plaschke’s article, he mentioned that he had sat down to hear Springer’s press conference after Game 2 in the 2017 World Series. In Springer’s press conference, he mentioned that he does have a stutter and that he’s had challenges with speech fluency since he was a child.
To limit his stuttering, Springer had mentioned that he worked on slowing down his speech. He had mentioned that when he was a child, his parents had noticed that he would speak way too fast and he’d stumble. Oddly enough, Springer didn’t become fluent from therapy. Instead, he learned how to slow down his speech and it’s working. While Springer isn’t fluent 100% of the time, it’s clear that it’s a major improvement and now he’s relatively comfortable in high pressure situations like interviews.
My Own Speech Impediment
Springer and I have a lot in common. I also have a speech impediment. When I was a child, my parents first noticed that I had a speech impediment. They were always looking for the best speech pathologist to work with me on strategies to be more fluent. I recall going from speech pathologist to speech pathologist and working to identify what exactly was causing my stutter.
Some strategies worked, but it wasn’t a permanent fix. There isn’t a true permanent fix. It’s not like you can take a pill to speak fluently. It just doesn’t work like that.
So, as a child, I was always frustrated of how others viewed me. When you are suffering from a disability, often times people will look down on you and baby you. Also, when friends and family gave me advice on how to limit stuttering, that truly frustrated me. While I valued their opinions, I felt like they didn’t understand exactly what I was going through.
In addition, I was always irritated with myself. I remember talking to my family and have speech problems and all I wanted to do was hide. For me, my stutter was embarrassing.
While my stutter drove me nuts, I knew that I needed to do something about my speech impediment.
So, I decided to travel down to Norfolk, Virginia to attend a program at the Eastern Virginia Medical School. The program’s instructor, Ross Barrett worked with me to identify what exactly I needed to do to be more fluent. The program was exactly what I needed. I learned strategies/targets that I would need to utilize every day to be as fluent as possible.
Since leaving the program, I practice using my targets every day and while I’m not 100% fluent, I’m much happier with my speech. I’m able to have a conversation with my fiancee, my parents, my sister, my friends and my colleagues without stumbling over and over.
Don’t Give Up
Plenty of people around the world have a speech impediment. If you are someone who does have a speech impediment, my advice is that you shouldn’t give up on your dreams. Just because you have a speech impediment doesn’t mean that you can’t fulfill your desires. Plus, if you want to learn ways to limit stuttering, there are people like George Springer and Ross Barrett who are actively working to identify ways to be more fluent. So, don’t give up. If you want to be a baseball player, an actor/actress, a politician, a sales person or a journalist, you shouldn’t let your speech impediment stop you from achieving your dreams.