Dear readers!

My name is Jurjen de Jong. I am born in 1993 and yes I stutter. I disliked my stutter for a very long time, but gained acceptance over time. 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 more often stuck in my words. This became worse and I went to speech therapy. This helped me during primary school, 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 alone 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 didn’t have 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. However, I wanted more so I went a year to Sweden, and a few months to Taiwan and Tunesia for work and studies. Every time I had to step out of my comfort zone and I got to know many people around the world, which brought me new ways of thinking about the world and myself as well. Also, my self-confidence increased. My stutter was still the same, but my attitude towards my stutter changed over time.

I moved to Leuven for an advanced master’s study. This is when I started to do workshops with the Broca Brothers (2 Dutch guys who created a method to solve partly your stuttering), which got me into the world of people who stutter (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 that we came up with Stamily! I wrote also a blog about the week for the ISAD 2018. Click here to read the blog.

Many things happened after. I went for example to the world congress for people who stutter in Iceland. Again I had an amazing time. We also did a presentation/workshop about Stamily, which skyrocketed our ideas around Stamily.

With Stamily and by having all my stuttering friends around the world, I finally dare to say that I accept my stutter. It is a part of me and will always be a part of me. I can do everything I want and I can follow my dreams. However, I never forgot how I have felt before about my stutter. This is why I feel it is my mission to raise awareness about stuttering to those who do not understand it and to let other people who stutter experience acceptance as well.

Everyone on this tiny planet is good enough. So are you.

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