CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Sherrikka Myers grew up the youngest of five siblings. They were close but also very different.
Sherikka says the biggest difference was that she stuttered.
“I was shy because I did not want anyone to know how I speak,” says Myers.
As a kid Myers says she would try to speak clearly but the words just would not come out.
She says her life changed during middle school when she was asked to do the the announcements over the loud speaker at school one day.
“There was a long list of things I had to read off and all I could say is,'Good morning I’m Sharkkia,'” says Myers.
Fast forward, Myers graduated high school got married and had kids of her own. She says the day she realized her kids did not stutter was one of the best days for her.
One of her worst days was to find out that her first grandchild, nicknamed Herbie, stutters.
Because of him, she started a non-profit “Every 1 Voice Matters” in 2016.
“I want to offer a center with therapists and counselors that can help kids with their speech and then their mental and emotional state,” says Myers.
Language Pathologist Jenni Reidenbach says a common link to stuttering is that it is an inherited abnormality in the area of the brain that controls language skills.
She says stuttering is five times more prevalent in boys than girls.
“It’s more prevalent in early ages where children start having language bursts and their tongue tries to keep up with their minds,” says Reidenbach.
As for Myers, she has published children’s books on the topic and even has an official mascot named after her grandson Herbie.
She says it’s all in an effort to educate others and combat bullying because of stuttering.
“I don’t care how long it take takes to say something, I don’t care how many people laugh at the end of the day, their voice still matters. It’s not you that has the problem, It’s the other person,” says Myers.
Reidenbach says often times most children grow out of stuttering either with therapy or on their own.
She says if your young child does stutter and it continues for several months, it’s best to talk to your child’s pediatrician and their school’s counselor and look into speech therapy.