A student has found confidence and a route to self-expression on his music course at Uxbridge College.
Ruben Sewkumar says his stammer, which he has had for as long as he can remember, has sometimes made it hard for him to communicate – but rapping has helped him find his niche. He has written and recorded his own tracks and can perform without completely stammering, which is not possible for him when he speaks.
Ruben said: “Rap has helped me a lot. When I rap I don’t stammer at all and that’s a pretty amazing experience. It’s one way I can express how I am feeling when that doesn’t always feel possible. When I express myself and say what I want to say, it’s like a release.”
He says he has also found a supportive environment at college where he can be himself. For instance, people who stammer sometimes need more time to say what they need to say, and if others understand he needs more time, it makes communication easier.
He said: “I get on with everyone here, teachers and the other students are supportive and understanding. Being at college suits me better than school - I have got more of a social life and I’m really enjoying myself. It’s a nice place to be and a nice environment. Talking is still hard but it helps if people understand. I may take longer to say what I have to say, but I may still have something to say.”
Music lecturer Ray Griffin said: “We are really pleased with how well Ruben has done this year and we look forward to seeing what he will produce in the way of original material next year.”
Ruben has learned various techniques to help him deal with having a stammer, including at the Michael Palin Centre which provides therapies for young people and adults. He still feels less confident about speaking than he would like to and hopes he will find ways to change this.