A Way With Words

Photo by Dara Levy

As junior Garrett Rose stood in front of his fellow members of DeMolay International, a leadership organization for males between the ages of 12 and 21, he was nervous. However, as he began to speak, his words came out smoothly, without any pause or repetition. Being able to speak fluently in front of a large group of people, he said, was a big deal for him because it shows how far he had come since his past struggles with stuttering.

Stuttering is a speech difficulty that affects the fluency of an individual’s speech. For most, stuttering begins at developmental stages of life when a child is very young. Yet his mother Kara Rose said she was unable to see it as abnormal when Garrett’s speech was delayed.

“His speech was delayed,” Mrs. Rose said via email. “However, we didn’t worry about it because his doctor told us babies are either more vocal or more physical.  When he did start to speak, he seemed unsure of how to put his words together.  Being our first, we just thought this was normal.  We really noticed (his problem with stuttering) when Garrett was four and started preschool.  It was obvious seeing him around other kids.”

Therefore, Mrs. Rose found a speech therapist for Garrett when he was in preschool and had him work with the therapist each day until first grade.

Five years later, Garrett was in middle school and was learning to deal with his stuttering on his own.

“Through time I’ve learned to overcome it, and I’ve kind of grown into my voice and learned how to use it properly,” Garrett said.

Although he has learned to control his stuttering, even now Garrett said stuttering can be hindering in many of the activities he enjoys, including TechHounds.

“Effective communication is key when you’re working on a team or in a collaborative setting like with TechHounds,” Garrett said. “You need to be able to speak properly and communicate with your teammates in order to be successful in any team extracurricular activity like TechHounds.”

“Effective communication is key when you’re working on a team or in a collaborative setting like with TechHounds.”Junior Garrett Rose

In addition to TechHounds, speeches, as well as the support of parents and teachers have helped Garrett in dealing with stuttering.

“Class speeches have helped me learn how to get through it too, and when I was younger, teachers were understanding when I’d have trouble making out words sometimes. For the most part, my teachers and parents just helped by supporting me.”

Garrett said he is thankful for his teachers and parents, and his own ability to overcome stuttering, because many still struggle with it.

“It doesn’t really affect my daily life anymore because I’ve learned to overcome it,” Garrett said. “I know some people who still struggle with it, and it affects how they communicate with people because it can be really hard to understand them. They try to get through it as best they can, but it’s just hard. It’s really hard to get over it. It was hard for me to get over it too, but it just worked out. I got over it. I’m thankful for that, especially since others still struggle with it.”

Overall, Garrett said overcoming stuttering is a process, so he said he encourages those who struggle with stuttering to not be too hard on themselves.

“(Stuttering is) something I’ve kind of grown out of,” Garrett said. “I’ve learned to deal with it. For some people, it might not be that easy. For people like that, definitely try and join something that involves public speaking so that you can learn to use your voice and manipulate the way that you want to. Don’t worry about how you speak. Just try to get your point across. It will get better. It will absolutely get better, and in time you’ll learn how to use your voice, but it’s a process.”

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Christine Fernando