At ChatterBug, we know Amraiz as the confident Marketing Lead, cracking jokes in the office, but he’s not always felt this way. You would never imagine the journey he has been on to get to where he is now. For years Amraiz struggled with his stammer; school was a daily challenge for him, watching the clock until the last bell announced home time and constantly trying to avoid being selected to read or speak in front of class. Amraiz grew up with a stammer that his initial speech therapy could not remedy, leaving him in fear of having conversations and making everyday interactions overwhelmingly difficult. Alternatively, he would write messages on his phone to show to people, writing down what he wanted to be able to say.
“If I wanted to go anywhere, I had to take a second person with me. That’s how bad it was.”
To call his stammer an inconvenience, would definitely be an understatement.
As Amraiz progressed through school and started looking at potential careers, he felt that his options would always be limited. However, his passion for marketing spurred him on to follow his dream of working in a field that is based around the very skill that had so far held him back – communication. But for Amraiz, the dread of attending an interview and not being able to communicate without a stammer stopped him from attending numerous job interviews, applying for jobs before panicking and cancelling his interview.
“I have lived most of my life being shy, avoiding situations. I would rather be seen as rude or stupid to hide the fact that I couldn’t pronounce some words.”
His self-confidence was at an all-time low before his business teacher recommended a 4-day speech therapy course that involved learning a new diaphragmatic breathing technique that enabled him to overcome the brunt of his speech problems. It wasn’t until completing the speech course, that he found new techniques to help control his stammer. Amraiz is now able to successfully manage his stammer and communicate more confidently, even when speaking in front of large groups of people. Whilst studying Advertising and Marketing Communication at the University of Huddersfield, Amraiz was a student ambassador and events and promotion assistant at the Student Union.
During this time, he ran a three-day campaign to become Student Union President, which involved standing in front of a hall full of students and giving a talk on his manifesto to an audience of over 300. Amraiz has recently completed his degree at The University of Huddersfield, where he studied Advertising and Marketing Communications BA (Hons) receiving First Class Honours, which we are extremely proud of! Although Amraiz’s stammer is still present, he is much more in control of it. By applying new techniques and accepting his stammer, he has found the confidence to be the person he always wanted to be. Amraiz no longer fears being in the position where he must talk to people and in fact, embraces public speaking. He continues to share his journey and inspire other individuals who are facing the same difficulties he experienced.
8% of children stammer at some point
Amraiz’s story is not unusual, with 8% of children having a stammer at some point, although the majority will go on to talk fluently with an effective therapeutic intervention. Statistics also show that approximately 500,000 plus adults in the UK stammer, which is about 1% of the adult population. Stammering is a neurological condition that is often hereditary. It gets worse when people feel stressed, but stress or anxiety is not the cause of stammering. It is often developed throughout childhood and subtle changes within the brain result in a physical difficulty in talking. Children who stammer will face numerous challenges in life and Amraiz’s own experience demonstrates just how difficult it can be to live with a stammer but also the huge progress that can be made by taking speech therapy sessions and effective interventions.
At ChatterBug, we have helped thousands of children to gain confidence in their speech and take control of communication problems such as stammers. We have an amazing team of fully qualified Speech and Language Therapists with the expertise to provide high-quality support and interventions to children and young people. We are currently offering online sessions too, so get in touch if you would like to find out more about how we can help.