FOR close to eight decades, Awake! has helped its readers to cope with everyday problems. At times, it alerts them to new developments and attitudes in the medical field, which can profoundly affect their lives, as the following story reveals.
Matthew was born in 1989 in the north of England. Up to the age of two, he was a normal little boy. Then, quite suddenly, while on vacation, he developed a severe stutter.
“My husband and I consulted our local speech therapy unit,” explains Margaret, his mother, “and were told that nothing could be done for him until he was seven years old because until that age, children are unable to control their vocal cords. But when Matthew went to school, he had difficulty coping with the teasing from the other children, and his stuttering grew worse. He hated being in crowds and became withdrawn. Even attending meetings at the Kingdom Hall became a challenge.
“We then spotted ‘Hope for Stutterers,’ in ‘Watching the World,’ in the April 8, 1995, issue of Awake! It briefly explained the work of a team of speech therapists in Sydney, Australia, who had been successful in treating stuttering in young children.
“We wrote to the University of Sydney and received a kind reply from Dr. Mark Onslow, suggesting that we contact him by telephone. As we are living on the other side of the world, his team of speech therapists decided to try ‘distance intervention.’ We, as Matthew’s parents, were instructed in the team’s technique by telephone, fax, and audiotape. The therapy was tailored to Matthew’s personal needs. I would sit down with him and in a relaxed, informal way help him by direct intervention to correct his problem words. I gave generous praise and small rewards for ‘smooth’ speech.
“Six months later Matthew was no longer an introvert, living in his own small world, but a normal, happy, outgoing youngster. He now answers at congregation meetings and greatly enjoys giving Bible readings at the Kingdom Hall. He also has a meaningful share in the house-to-house ministry. His speech is normal!
“How grateful we are for that snippet of news in Awake!, which has transformed the life of our son!”—Contributed.