Tony Churchill has retired after an impressive career with the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board

I’m looking forward to making a two-minute presentation at the retirement party for Tony Churchill that will be held on Jan. 16, 2014 at the Catholic Education Centre (CEC) in Mississauga. I’ve discussed Tony’s work at an online video posted some years ago at Vimeo; speaking notes for the latter talk are available here.

Speaking notes

I enjoy preparing for such events. Below are my speaking notes for the upcoming event in celebration of Tony Churchill’s highly productive and wide ranging career as a speech-language pathologist:

Good evening.

I want to say a few words about stuttering.

I began to stutter at the age of six. At times I stuttered quite severely. Sometimes I couldn’t get out any words at all.

In 1987, at the age of 41, I attended a speech therapy clinic in Edmonton. After that, and with a lot of practice, I spoke quite well, and began making presentations to large audiences.

But each time I would be giving a talk, to a large audience, a voice inside me would say, “You’re not supposed to be able to do this. You’re supposed to be falling flat on your face.”

That voice really bothered me. At first I didn’t know what to do. But then it occurred to me that what I needed to do was to compare notes, about these kinds of challenges, with other people who stutter. For that reason, in 1988 I formed a self-help group for people who stutter in Toronto.

The next year, in 1989, we invited Tony Churchill to speak at one of our meetings. After the meeting, I asked him about the inner voice that was bothering me.

He replied, “What the inner voice is telling you is that you need to adjust to some changes that have occurred in your life.” After that, the inner voice never bothered me again.

That was twenty-five years ago. I’m very pleased to be here this evening once again at a meeting where Tony Churchill is one of our speakers. Thank you.


The inner voice that I’ve described can, I would say, be viewed as a particularly powerful form of self-talk. In this case, it was a form of self-talk which was not as readily amenable to change as everyday forms of self-talk.

I mention self-talk because I was reminded of its power through reading a Feb. 3, 2014 Toronto Star article, entitled: “Talking in the third person lowers anxiety: Study.”

The subhead reads: “You talk about yourself in your head by name, you’ve got a psychological edge that could help you perform better and be less anxious.”


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