Childrens Success Stories

Noah’s Story: The Irwin Family

When I asked my eight year-old why the therapy with Tim helped so fast he said: "my body just knows what to do. The other therapy took too much thinking and it didn't work." From the mouth of babes! After four years of other stuttering therapies, we finally have a solution for Noah.

It was at Noah’s two-year check up that the pediatrician mentioned that she could not understand a majority of what Noah was saying. I had served as his interpreter to family and friends, but it never crossed my mind that they should understand him directly. We were fortunate that the very next day Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta was able to evaluate him. It was a grueling and long three-hour evaluation. The conclusion was that Noah had dysphasia and tongue-thrust. Therapy would begin immediately. From the time Noah was two until the age of four, Noah was seen by both Children’s Healthcare and the public school system for speech only. They worked on strengthening his oral muscles and his pronunciation. Noah’s speech improved a great deal as therapy sessions two to three times a week (even in the summer) became a part of every day life for us.

When Noah was four years old, he was having difficulty retaining things that he learned in the classroom. He could go over the letter A, draw pictures of things that start with the letter A and sound it out over and over again; but it would be lost 45 minutes later. Noah was not able to keep what he was learning. After a neuro-psychological exam, it was determined that Noah had ADHD and symbolic dysfunction. Around this time, Noah began to stutter. It was alarming how quickly the stuttering began. It was difficult for him to complete thoughts. There were even time periods where he would close his eyes and contort his face to get the sounds out. Fortunately, the stuttering did not seem to affect Noah socially. He is a lovable child and the other children accepted him. Noah received the typical stuttering therapy. He was told to “stop and think before speaking” or “talk slow like a snail.” These therapies frustrated Noah. They made him talk in a very unnatural way calling more attention from others when he implemented them.

It was in first grade that Noah began to feel separated out for his stuttering. Children began to ask Noah or me, “Why does he talk that way?” The distinction began to wear at Noah’s self-confidence. He would often say that he wanted to stop, but didn’t know how. My husband and I really saw a decline in Noah’s confidence. For over two years we had been participants in a stuttering research program at a major university in Georgia. I had hoped that the countless times of videotaping and documenting Noah’s struggle would be the solution. If anything, the stuttering became worse and the techniques suggested by the university had begun to cause a separation between Noah and I. Through the years, I had heard of Tim Mackesey and had invested a little time checking into it. Now, it was time. We were ready for results. We felt we had treaded water for too long and were ready to grab the bull by the horns. We needed to see something work.

The theory behind the programs that we had previously tried went against Noah’s very nature. With his ADHD and impulsivity, it was not only difficult for him to talk slow - it was nearly impossible. Noah’s overall demeanor was not taken into consideration when these programs were applied. I’m sure that his therapists only meant well, but they seemed to subscribe to the “one fits all” thought. It wasn’t until we met Tim, a person that knows the mind of a stutterer, that we could address the disparity between what was expected of Noah and what was reasonable. Noah simply had to learn to self-correct, through releasing tension at the point of stuttering. Tim first showed this to him through picture description. Noah was then able to generalize this practice to normal dialogue. We knew we were really achieving our goal when Tim took Noah outside the office setting and in the midst of great excitement; Noah was able to control his stuttering.

Tim evaluated Noah in April. Six sessions later, Noah is virtually 100% fluent in all situations. He has learned to self-correct. On a recent extended-family vacation, Noah’s grandparents, aunt, uncle and cousins were amazed that he did not stutter one time the entire week. It was truly incredible!

Tim taught Noah how to focus on where the stutters were coming from and then how to correct them. Noah had never been taught the “mechanics” of stuttering. Now, he has the key to correct his biggest frustration. Noah is more confident and proud of how far he has come. Thank you, Tim!

The Irwin Family Georgia, USA