Chloe Pyner, 29, used to avoid talking as her stammer left her unable to say certain words, places, and her name – and even stopped her ordering her favourite drink of gin and tonic.
Her affliction left her struggling to fulfill her dreams of becoming a teacher – as she couldn’t face the prospect of introducing herself in front of a group of pupils.
Chloe says she got by in the hope of someone else saying words for her, as well as avoiding certain sounds which would be ‘blocked’ in her head.
But after battling the condition from a young age, Chloe has finally conquered her demons to such an extent she has now fulfilled her dream of standing up in front of a class.
She started working at Pomphlett School in her home town of Plymouth, Devon, at the start of the new summer term.
And she said it was only possible because of her new-found confidence.
She said: “I was a covert stammerer which means I would avoid words, or get someone else to say it for me; like if I wanted the bill, I would wait for the person to bring it or ask me if I wanted it instead of saying the words myself.
“It is a physical issue but a lot of it became psychological- I would remember times I had got stuck with a word and then avoid saying it again.
“I moved to a new school in August and that was a big thing for me, but it was the first time I have ever started a new job and felt a normal kind of nervous.”
Despite trying speech therapy at the age of 10, working with her drama teacher and testing hypnotherapy in her early 20s, nothing was helping Chloe get a grip on her stammer.
Although she tried not to let it hold her back, the psychological block got worse over the years.
She flew back from Spain where she was living during May 2015 for a four day intensive course alongside fellow stammerers and learn how to improve her speech impediment.
She added: “The programme is ran by stammerers for stammerers; it teaches you techniques such as breathing before you talk and you get a big support network after the sessions which helps.”
A year and a half later and Chloe is in control of her stammer.
She added: “It is not a cure,
“I will always have a stammer but it is about giving self acceptance- the group was the first time I had ever openly spoken about my stammer and that opened my mind set – I used to get really stressed out just introducing myself.”