For years Kirkcaldy woman Cheryl King hardly said a word to anyone because it was just too difficult.
And when she was at school other pupils laughed at her everytime she spoke.
This is because the 41-year-old mum of one has a speech impediment and it has had a massive impact on her life.
Cheryl has worked very hard to combat the communication disorder and now she is helping to launch a new Fife support group to try and ensure other people don’t experience the same difficulties she did.
She said: “If there had been a support group available when I was younger I would have found it so helpful.
“When I was younger I hardly said a word to anybody because I would be laughed at every time I spoke. It then becomes a cycle – you have issues with your speech which in turns creates anxiety which then affects your mood. School was horrendous for me because I had a speech impediment.”
Cheryl has no idea where her speech defect came from, all she knows is that she woke up with it one day when she was three years old.
“My parents just thought I was overtired, but a couple of days later I still had it. Eventually I went to see a speech and language therapist but I was passed around a lot and I just lost interest.”
However six years ago she found she was struggling to cope so Cheryl decided to seek help. And in April this year she attended an open day organised by the Scottish Stammering Network and it changed her life.
She said: “It was great to be around other people who were like me. My speech became a lot more fluent for a few days after and my confidence has continued to increase. I then decided to host my own group here in Fife.”
Cheryl spoke to James Stewart, chairman of the network, and with support she is set to launch the new group in Kirkcaldy tomorrow (Saturday) in the Dean Park Hotel’s Blair Suite.
She said: “This is the only support group in Fife. It may be a bit daunting at first but no-one will be made to speak if they don’t want to. The group is for people to come and meet others with a speech impediment and just have a chat.
“It is open to all ages – parents/carers of children who stammer are welcome. The meetings will be held from 10am to noon on the first Saturday of each month in the Dean Park Hotel and they are free to attend (there are no meetings in January). If I can help just one person it will be worth it.”