Changing the Words Around

badmington.jpegAbout the author: Alan Badmington is a former police officer and lifelong stutterer from Wales, UK. He is a successful figure in the public speaking clubs of England and Wales and regularly addresses diverse community organisations in an attempt to increase public awareness about stuttering. He has also given talks to trainee SLPs, as well as undertaking presentations at NSA and BSA events. He was a keynote speaker at the 7th World Congress for People Who Stutter in Australia in February 2004, where he also won the Oratory Competition. His television, radio and newspaper interviews have further brought stuttering to the fore. Alan has contributed a chapter to John Harrison's book, 'How to conquer your fears of speaking before people'. His work has been reproduced in NSA/BSA publications and on the major stuttering-related websites. Alan is joint owner of Stutteringchat, the world's largest Internet group for persons who stutter. Email:

chris.jpegAbout the artist: Christine Badgett-Richards has been working toward a degree in special education (with an emphasis in learning disabilities) for several years. She is originally from St. Louis Missouri, and moved to Bristol, England in April 2002. She is a covert stutterer. She has a keen interest in hedgehogs and wildlife preservation in general. She enjoys watercolour painting, music, photography, interior design and swimming and is especially interested in collecting and researching children's literature, and hopes to write and illustrate a series of children's books in the near future. Chris is co-moderator of StutteringChat and mans the BSA Telephone Helpline once a week.

Changing the Words Around

Text by Alan Badmington
from Wales
Illustrated by Chris Badgett-Richards
from England

Listen to Alan read "Changing the Words Around"


I couldn't say muffin, I couldn't say butter
If I ordered a burger, I'd stumble and stutter
So, instead of me saying the words that I should
I'd swop them for others, I hoped that I could



But you can't always leave out the words that you dread
There are times when a certain thing has to be said
My sister's called Sarah, my best friend is Ben
They just wouldn't answer to Lucy and Len


Whenever I spotted a difficult sound
I'd hastily juggle my sentence around
I spent so much energy word re-arranging
Whenever I spoke, I was chopping and changing


My efforts to search for an easier word
Resulted in sentences, sometimes absurd
At times, my selections just didn't make sense
Which made me more anxious, frustrated and tense


Each time I avoided a troublesome sound
I felt rather guilty, and very soon found
That my fear of speaking increased even more
The number of 'problem words' started to soar


I quickly discovered that word substitution
Was simply avoidance, and not a solution
Although I was fluent, or so it appeared
The words I avoided became much more feared


One day, I decided, enough was enough
I made myself promise, (although it was tough)
To say what I wanted, whatever the letter
At times, I still struggled, but I felt so much better


Today, I will say any letter or sound
Confronting my fears is the best way - I've found
Should I ever be tempted to waver sometime
I'll remember the message contained in this rhyme.


© 2004 Alan Badmington, all rights reserved