I have a slight stutter sometimes. Especially when a bit stressed. It was worse when I was a little boy living in outback Australia. My Mum drove me all the way to the big smoke (Brisbane) to see a paediatrician. I remember it well – the doctor was so nice, he asked me all these questions about my pet dog, my horse, my school, my friends. We spoke for ages and he seemed really interested in my life. At the end of all this he turned to my mother and said ‘Mrs Butler, there’s nothing wrong with your child – his speech is perfect’. I got outside the doctor’s surgery and my mum gave me a hell of a belting – ‘why didn’t you stutter like you do at home, you little bugger!’
So what was happening in the doctor’s office that so altered my brain construction of stammering? I would hazard a guess that novelty, distraction, the thrill of the long trip to Brisbane, the niceness of the doctor and the overall context would likely have played a part in allowing normal linguistic expression.
– David Butler
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