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Challenge: Kids with Special Needs

Dear stranger: Take a few extra seconds

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Dear Stranger,

I see you losing your patience. I just ask you, for a second, to put yourself in the other shoes.

My son does not speak as naturally as your or I do.
What comes off your tongue does not easily come off of his.

I ask you, as you reach to finish his sentence for him, to just take a few extra seconds of time.

He isn’t searching for the word. He knows what he wants to say.

I ask that you direct your questions and comments to him - not to me.

He is a 17-year-old, a bright and kind young man.
He happens to have a speech impediment.
He happens to have a stutter.

Did you know that Bruce Willis and James Earl Jones and Tiger Woods have also stuttered?
And that presidential candidate Joe Biden has worked through a stutter his entire life?

They're all talented, smart and successful people.

Stuttering does not make you incompetent. It does not make you unable to form an idea or thought.

You know what it does do?
It often feels isolating.
It often feels frustrating.
Anxiety ridden.
Embarrassing.

Often my son may choose not to speak out, in fear of stuttering in public.
He may have trouble ordering a pizza or asking a teacher for help during a class.

As his mother - you can imagine - my heart aches.

Every time I hear him struggle to get the words out, I want to speak out loud for him.
Every time a person looks to me, for help to finish his sentence, I want to scream JUST WAIT - he is a person with things to say.

His opinion and thoughts matter just like yours do.

He often doesn’t say it though because of fear of it being too hard to say it.

He is a quiet boy with a very large heart.
He matters.
Everything he thinks and wants to say- they matter .

Dear Friends,
Please include him in your conversations.
Please be patient if it takes him a bit longer to speak.
Please be kind and not hurtful.

Please remember that we are all different.
We all have challenges- some just may not be as evident as others.

Love, from a mother.
(Written with permission from my oldest )

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