Ask Sam letter


To Sam

Speech Problems

I wasn't sure which section to put this under, but I have this phobia of speech. I can't speak to people I don't know really well or that I'm not close to, and it's causing a load of problems for me, especially at school, where I have a french speaking exam coming up.
I'm not sure what it is, but when I try to speak it's like my vocal cords freeze up and there is no chance of me speaking when it feels like this. Also, when I do speak, I have a mild stutter, which doesn't help.
I was just wondering if you knew if there was anything I could do about this.  Obviously, I can't tell someone, and I really don't want my parents to know.
Ask Sam


Hello C,

Thank you for getting in touch. I can hear that you are concerned that the way you feel about talking is having an impact on different parts of your life. You told me that you can’t tell anyone so you’ve done really well to get in touch and explain how you are feeling.

I’m wondering whether you think any of your teachers are aware of the reasons that you’ve been having some problems at school.  You have explained this to me in writing and some people find this is an easier way to express what is going on for them. If you felt able to let someone you trust at school know they may be able to talk to a teacher on your behalf. People can feel nervous about speaking (oral) exams for lots of different reasons, so your French teacher may be able to give you some tips about that.  If your school knows about how you feel, then they may be able to offer you help and support. I’m wondering whether there is anywhere at school that you could leave a note for them, explaining your worries? You can find some suggestions about ways to beat exam stress here 

It sounds as though sometimes you find it physically hard to speak, so that could be something that your GP could give you advice about. They may be able to tell you more about getting support to cope with your stutter. If you wanted to hear more about how other young people cope with similar experiences you could have a look at the messageboards, or leave your own message there. You can look at boards about Health and Wellbeing Or School .

It seems as though you’re looking for ways to change how you feel, and you’re unsure how to do that. Finding different ways to cope with how you’re feeling, and looking at ways you may be able to get more support is something that a ChildLine counsellor could talk about more with you. From what you’ve told me it seems like you may not feel comfortable talking to ChildLine on the phone - however, maybe you could think about using the 1-2-1 online chat or sending a private email which a counsellor will reply to. Just so you know this will be confidential.

Thanks again for writing to me.

Take Care


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