Jurjen

Dear readers!

My name is Jurjen de Jong. I am 25 years old and yes I stutter. I hated my stutter for a very long time. It is still not my best friend, but it is a part of me and it will always be a part of me. Let me tell you something about my life as a pws.

It all started when I was around 7 years old and I noted in class that I was stuck in my words more often. This became worse and I went to speech therapy. This helped me during primary school with accepting my stutter, but when I went to secondary school my thoughts and struggles with and around stuttering became very bad again. I tried to hide it, but this didn’t work if I had to do a presentation or had to read in class. I didn’t know other people with whom I could share my struggles and thoughts, back then. So, I felt lonely in my situation… During secondary school, I tried to skip language classes, because I didn’t want to speak in class. ‘Luckily’ I was good at math and so after secondary school, I started studying mathematics, physics, and astronomy. During this time my thoughts about my stuttering were still not optimal, but better, because I was not in difficult speaking situations.

After my bachelor’s studies, I wanted to step out of my comfort zone. So, I moved to Belgium (to the city Ghent) into a house with 30 international students. Here I had to speak English all day. This helped me with the first steps of coming further out of my comfort zone. After one year in Belgium I studied a year in Sweden and did some Swedish language classes (which was again a big step for me) and my English improved as well.

I still stuttered, but I started to care less about it. I graduated for my master in mathematical physics and the year after I moved again to Belgium (this time to Leuven) to study an advanced master in Space Studies. All went well but I felt I didn’t challenge myself enough on speech improvements. So, during this year I started to do workshops with the Broca Brothers (2 Dutch guys who created a method to solve partly your stuttering), which brought me into the world of pws.

The summer of that same year I went for a week to Northern-Italy to meet fellow-pws. This was an awesome experience. For a week long we were living in a world where stuttering was the norm. For me, this was the first time that stuttering didn’t matter and this feeling continued after the camp. This camp is also the reason we came up with this website!
I wrote also a blog about the week for the ISAD 2018. Click here to read the blog.

I went after the week in Italy to Taiwan to do a Chinese language class. This was very exciting because, as I just explained, I had a lot of problems with language classes during secondary school, but I noted that my stuttering was not that bad anymore during classes, and my confidence was much higher. As a result I could for the first time enjoy a language class a lot.

The next step for me to become a more confident pws is to become a good public speaker. This will, therefore, be my next goal! And yes, there is still a long way to go. But every step is a lesson or a step forward.

Jurjen

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