According to the Stuttering Foundation of America, more than 70 million people worldwide stutter, with an estimated 3 million-plus stutters in the United States. Stuttering, or stammering, is described as a communication disorder in which the flow of speech is broken by repetitions (li-li-like this), prolongations (lllllike this), or abnormal stoppages (no sound) of sounds and syllables. There may also be unusual facial and body movements associated with the effort to speak.
Saadiq Wicks, 17, has stuttered for as long as he’s been able to speak. His speech impediment has many challenges from being bullied to tolerating listeners impatience. In his quest to raise awareness about stuttering, at age 9 he founded “Lllet Me Finish,” a nonprofit dedicated to supporting young people who stutter. At age 13, Wicks teamed up with his mother, Kimberly Garvin, to pen the informative children’s book.
The engaging story of “When Oliver Speaks (Indigo River Publishing; $12.95)” comes from the personal experiences Wicks recalls in his journey to accept the way he speaks without shame or embarrassment.