Being a Nigerian stammerer

It is tough enough for a child to be bullied by peers in school or in the playground but when you were teased by people who should know better, then it hurts – badly.

Evelyn was not very happy with Nigerians, all Nigerians combined, her son was teased by a relative, she was shocked and at same time furious that they were uncles and aunties who should know better that stuttering is a speech disorder.

It was a five-year old Patrick that got teased at a family gathering, it started with a few children of his age picking on him, he ran to Mama crying as he was clearly hurt, the last people he expected to be teased by was his own family. The mother intervened and asked the children to be nice, that caught attention of the in-laws who busted into fits of laughter repeating what their children were being cautioned for. Evelyn was furious about this and could not believe the insensitivity shown by the adults, so left the party.

She told the story to me still angry after hours. How I wished I could say “That was unfortunate, because at home, we were understating towards stutterers.”

I once had a brother whose stuttering was terrible. Mayowa at some point would close his eyes out of frustration just to get a word out. Within the family we understood and barely noticed it anymore. Outside of our house, his name was Akololo – Stutterer, this was said to his face, in a big crowd, everywhere, not just by children but even adults would pat on the shoulder before calling him the new given name. At school, he didn’t say much to avoid being teased. Being teased daily was his life in primary school.

Mayowa’s few years at SDA Grammar School was better. He met a girl who lived around the corner from us that goes to the same school, he was happy as Funke became a good friend, she understood him and allowed him time to express himself despite been painful for both the speaker and the listener.

To Evelyn I told of my experience, also add to not take her ignorant in-laws too seriously.

Too bad I can’t call on Mayowa for tips but Patrick is blessed – visiting Speech Therapist and increasing confidence by the day.

We can support better by reading up on stuttering